Oman Air is expected to join Oneworld in the later half of this year, adding what a senior Oneworld executive describes as “a really unique destination to the alliance.”
“As a tourism destination, Oman is really one of those secrets that I think a lot of people haven’t discovered yet,” Oneworld VP Gerhard Girkinger told Executive Traveller on the sidelines of the opening of the new Oneworld Seoul Lounge, where he also tipped the long-awaited launch of alliance-wide points upgrades.
The Muscat-based airline will take its seat at the Oneworld table alongside near-neighbours Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian, plus of course the likes of American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair JAL, Malaysia Airlines and Qantas.
As to when that will happen, “I would expect in the second half of this year we’ll have an official joining of Oman Air... we are a little bit too far away from determining the exact date, but it’s going to be somewhere in the second half of 2024.”
Girkinger says the process of bringing an airline into the Oneworld family “usually can take anything from 12 to 24 months, and we are halfway through this process with Oman Air.”
It largely but not completely hinges on integrating the potential member’s technology with the broader Oneworld platform “to ensure seamless interaction in terms of IT and making sure that systems talk to each other... there’s other elements and other aspects to that as well, but the biggest chunk of work lies with technology.”
Those “other elements” embrace marketing requirements regarding use of the Oneworld brand “and also they take some responsibility in promoting Oneworld as an alliance, and themselves as part of Oneworld, and it takes time to go through this process.”
The Oman Air + Oneworld proposition
Oman Air flying the Oneworld colours will unlock earn-and-burn potential for frequent flyers of all Oneworld member airlines, plus reciprocal status benefits aligned to Oman Air’s Sinbad loyalty program.
Sinbad has three membership tiers, with Sinbad Blue serving as the entry level for new members.
Sinbad Silver is expected to be equivalent to Oneworld Ruby or Oneworld Sapphire: qualifying travellers for a more generous baggage allowance, check-in at the business class counter and priority baggage, along with access to Oman Air’s business class lounges ahead of international flights,
Sinbad Gold is likely to line up against Oneworld Sapphire or Oneworld Emerald, and adds guesting privileges at Oman Air business class lounges along with complimentary upgrade vouchers from economy to business class.
From its hub at Muscat International Airport, Oman Air flies to five Oneworld member airline hubs – Amman, Colombo, Doha, Kuala Lumpur and London Heathrow – and already codeshares with Oneworld members Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines.
Its network spans across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur being the handiest airports for Australian travellers.
As a member of Oneworld, Oman Air flights will also become available for planning round-the-world trips with Oneworld, whether using cash or as part of a multi-city award booking made with frequent flyer points.
Although relatively unknown to Australian travellers, Oman Air counts a fleet of more than 40 aircraft among its stable, including Airbus A330s and Boeing 787s equipped with private suites in first class.