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COVID-19: Oman gears up for regular airline operations

Gulf News logo Gulf News 14/09/2020 Raajeshwari Ashok, Correspondent
a large air plane on a runway: 1.1199232-180886860 © Provided by Gulf News 1.1199232-180886860

Muscat: Oman’s resumption of commercial air travel from October 1 has been widely welcomed. The flagship carrier Oman Air had announced that it would fly to 16 cities in 12 countries, including London, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Cairo, Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Dubai, Doha, Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Lahore and Islamabad.

While the carriers are ready with the safety measures on board like HEPA filters, UV cleaning system and disposable PPE for crew, airports too have installed a set of new and unique equipment to ensure COVID-19 measures compliance. Muscat International Airport as well as Salalah International Airport have been handling special and chartered flights during the interim period.

Salam Al Kindi, Director of Corporate Affairs, at Salam Air, said that while social distancing is mandatory at the check-in counters at the airport, inside the aircraft, all passengers must compulsorily wear mask at all times. “Airlines are indeed happy about the resumption of commercial air travel. Particularly, we are excited about some of the Indian destinations that we will be opening up when we resume our commercial flights from October 1. We do not expect any big number in passenger travel till the vaccine hits the markets. But that said, we are sure air travel will bounce back, slowly but surely.”

A recent entrant in the airline market operating since 2016, Salam Air’s network of destinations includes GCC, Asia, Indian Sub-Continent and Africa.

A high-ranking official from Oman Air informed that the airline is sufficiently prepared for receiving passengers when the operations resume on October 1. “Like every airline in the world, we too are affected by the pandemic situation, but we sure will come out of this as people cannot put off travelling for a long time. And once the vaccine is available for everyone, we are hopeful that the situation will be back to normal.”

Oman has made it mandatory for those arriving in Muscat to undergo a PCR test, apart from undergoing a 14 day quarantine during which time, they must wear an electronic wristband that monitors the movements. Arriving passengers must also be insured to cover the cost of at least 30-days of treatment should the need arise.

Many respondents that Gulf News spoke to though were happy about the resumption of flights, would rather wait for vaccine availability to make their travel plans, and also wait for quarantine regimes in countries around the world to be phased out.

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