15 FEBRUARY 2016
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According to the Sunday Times Oman Air has purchased a pair of Air France Heathrow take-off/landing slots for US$75m, an airport record. This will double the nonstop flight frequency from the tiny Sultanate’s Muscat capital, British Airways also offering a direct service but via Abu Dhabi.
The price of a Heathrow slot very much depends on the timings. The new service will arrive at 05:30 giving the airline a balanced operation at the airport with a late morning departure. The current schedule has a 14:30 arrival and 18:20 departure for the 8hrs 30mins flight. An early morning arrival and late morning departure is highly valued allowing for good connections both ways.
Oman Airways offers a very high quality service on its limited long-haul routes with Bangkok, Singapore and the Philippines the most popular connecting destinations. The present operation is by Airbus A330 but this could be replaced when more Boeing 787's are delivered during the summer. Oman Air is not associated with any alliance.
The price show indicates the value of Heathrow as airlines see it and further highlights BA’s capture of bmi from Lufthansa, and its slots, as a real steal. American Airlines paid SAS US$40m for a single pair last year. www.omanair.com
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