Oman Air Wavering Over 787 Deliveries

 - October 26, 2011, 4:36 PM
Oman Air already flies seven Airbus A330s (above), now seen as possible alternatives to Boeing 787s. (Photo: Airbus)

Oman Air has yet to confirm definitively that it will take delivery of the six Boeing 787s it had agreed to lease from Aviation Lease and Finance Company (ALFACO). The Arabian Gulf carrier continues negotiations with Boeing over demands for compensation that it wants for delays in the delivery schedule for the new widebody. But during an October 19 press visit, the airline’s management indicated that it wouldn’t confirm its intentions for the 787 for up to another month. 

Schedules originally called for delivery of Oman Air’s aircraft in 2012, 2014 and 2015, but program delays have postponed the arrival of the first 787 until the second half of 2014. Other airlines in the region that have ordered the 787 have also expressed concerns about losses caused by the long delays to the program.

The airline declined to offer specifics about its plans for the 787, which also awaits the appointment of a new CEO to replace Peter Hill, who retires at the end of the year after leading Oman Air since its inception in 1993.

Oman Air currently flies seven Airbus A330-200/300s, 15 Boeing 737NGs and two ATR42 turboprops. It received the first of five Embraer 175s in March, and it holds options for five more. Philippe Georgiou, chief officer for corporate affairs, said the airline is two years into a five-year recovery plan. “We’re on course for break-even in 2013 or 2014,” he said. New destinations include Zurich first, then Moscow, followed by further European destinations, he added.

The deliberations with Oman Air continued as Boeing and 787 launch customer All Nippon Airways reveled in the fanfare of the type’s first passenger flight last Wednesday. The first Dreamliner flew from Tokyo to Hong Kong on a promotional charter flight, carrying passengers who paid a premium fare for the distinction. Plans called for the airplane to return to Tokyo on Thursday, followed by a pair of so-called excursion flights on Friday and Saturday to and from Tokyo Narita International Airport.

ANA’s first scheduled revenue flights depart Tokyo Haneda Airport for Okayama and Hiroshima on November 1.