LONDON: Oman Air said it’s poised to begin talks with Boeing and Airbus Group over an order for the latest generation of wide-body jets to replace 12 older A330 planes. The national carrier will open negotiations in coming weeks, with the focus on Airbus’s A350-900 model and the 787-9 or -10 from its US rival, Chief Executive Officer Paul Gregorowitsch said at a briefing in London.
The re-engined Neo version of the A330 is out of the running, with all-new aircraft are preferable to a “face-lift plane,” unless Airbus presents a particularly compelling case for the legacy model, the CEO said.
Gregorowitsch, who spoke after the start of a second daily Heathrow service using the new slots, said that Oman Air is aiming to make a profit at an operating level by the end of 2017, with its state owner’s funding contribution due to drop to RO 34 million ($88 million) this year from RO 64 million in 2015.
“The company is currently negotiating with two airlines in Europe and one in Asia as it seeks a joint venture partner with which to operate flights as an alternative to joining a global airline alliance,” the CEO said.
Talks are also under way on a possible code-share arrangement with Deutsche Lufthansa AG, adding to arrangements it already has with carriers including Turkish Airlines. Plans to add a first route to China this summer are on hold as Oman Air seeks optimum operating slots, though should start next winter, Gregorowitsch said. — Bloomberg