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First from Oman

On 1 July, Oman Air launched service with its new three-class Boeing 787-9. Ian Harbison was there to greet the aircraft on its arrival in London
 

This was just the latest in a number of changes being introduced by the airline as it repositions itself over the next few years. Abdulaziz Al Raisi, CEO, says the carrier wants to become more of a hub operator like others in the region, and transfer operations will be helped by the new Salalah International Airport, able to handle 1 million passengers per annum, and the new Muscat International Airport, able to handle 12 million passengers per annum.


Additionally, there is a push to promote Oman as a tourist destination. For the airline, the plan is to break even by 2024. For now, London is the flagship route for the airline, hence the introduction of a three-class aircraft. The interior has been designed by Oman Air with assistance from Teague and features eight First Class private suites (1-2-1), 24 Business Class seats (2-2-2) and 232 Economy seats (3-3-3).

 

The outstanding feature of this aircraft is the fully enclosed First Class suite, which has 55in tall soft closing sliding doors and a canopy behind each headrest for privacy. The leg rest, seat cushion, backrest, lumbar and seat pan can all be adjusted, and there is a memory function to save favourite positions for use at a later stage of flight. The seat converts to a fully flat bed, but the airline is offering a turndown service, so quilted duvets and sleep pillows are laid on top of the seat surface. A wardrobe has been incorporated into the suite wall, with storage in the ottoman and several large pockets around the console, which also includes a chilled minibar with a selection of beverages and snacks.

 

The shape on the feature wall and on each private suite door is inspired by the traditional Omani archway, which has been used in old forts and the modern Royal Opera House in the capital city of Muscat. Like the rest of the fleet, the 787-9 is fitted with the Thales AVANT Android IFE system, which the airline brands as Aria. OnAir is also installed for GSM and internet data services. Both Business Class and Economy are the same as on the current 787 and A330 fleets.

 

All classes will feature ‘Aria’, a new  Thales Integrated In-Flight Entertainment System designed exclusively for Oman Air featuring an immersive cinematic interface design, showcasing the latest in on-demand blockbuster movies, TV programmes and audio selections. Exclusively curated content will be available for visitors to Oman, who will experience the very best of Oman culture from the moment they step onboard. By the end of 2018, Oman Air will have taken delivery of five new MAX aircraft and three 787-9s. By 2022, Oman Air’s total fleet size is expected to be around 64. The airline is looking at the 787-9 and 787-10 or Airbus A350-900 or A350-1000 as an A330 replacement, says Al Raisi. 


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