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Oman Air has no plans to bid for Air India: CEO

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018

Oman’s national airline, Oman Air, has no plans of putting in a bid for Air India, Paul Gregorowitsch, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer said on Thursday.

“Today we have no interest to make a bid for Air India or part of Air India. Today we have different priorities. The economies in the Gulf are having some cross winds… rather than following examples of other Gulf carriers which have not been so successful at financially participating in airlines in either India, Asia or Europe,” Gregorowitsch said in response to a question on whether his airline will bid for Air India.

Late last month the Union Cabinet gave its in-principle approval for divestment of Air India.

Etihad, the national carrier of United Arab Emirates and a close competitor of Oman Air, has acquired a stake not only in Jet Airways but also in AirBerlin, Alitalia and Air Seychelles.

Open sky policy

The Oman Air CEO also indicated that his airline is hoping that the Indian Government will stick to its stated position of following an open sky policy with countries which are less than 5,000 km from India. This open sky policy will allow the airlines from other countries which are less than 5,000 km away from India to operate as many flights as they like here.

“The Indian Government mentioned its intention to have open skies beyond 5,000 km. That is completely done. It announced that the next step will be to have (open skies) within 5,000 km. Oman is within 5,000 km so if the initiatives taken so far by the Indian Government will continue, it is foreseeable that in the next few years where we would knock at the door again because we have added additional aircraft and additional destinations,” the airline CEO said.

Bilateral pact

At the moment, like many other countries Oman too is not allowed to operate unlimited flights to India as entitlements for the number of flights that can be operated is governed by an air services bilateral agreement.

In 2017, the Governments of India and Oman updated their bilateral air services agreement allowing Oman Air to operate 161 weekly frequencies to India from 126 weekly frequencies before the agreement between the two countries was inked.

Published on July 13, 2017

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