SalamAir (OV, Muscat) plans to expand its network to include destinations in the European Union after the bloc signed a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement with Oman.

"As we have taken delivery of our new A321-200NX aircraft, it is a timely opportunity for its operation on European routes. There is great potential for growth in travel between the Sultanate of Oman and Europe," Chief Executive Mohamed Ahmed said, quoted in an official communique issued by the state-owned Oman News Agency.

Currently, SalamAir does not operate to the EU. During summer 2021, the airline flew to Sarajevo, its first and only destination in Europe (albeit outside the EU), but flights have been suspended since September 27, 2021.

Full-service rival Oman Air (WY, Muscat) operates to four destinations in the EU - Frankfurt Int'l, Munich, Milan Malpensa, and Paris CDG - and another three airports elsewhere in Europe (London Heathrow, Istanbul New, Zurich), the ch-aviation capacities module shows. The airline also hinted at adding more European destinations once the air transport agreement was in force.

In terms of EU carriers operating to Oman, Air France flies to Muscat from Paris CDG (currently via Dubai Int'l, directly starting on December 18), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam Schiphol (via Dammam), and Smartwings (Czechia) operates scheduled charters from Prague Václav Havel and Bratislava to Salalah.

The initialling of the Comprehensive Agreement, which took place in Brussels on December 1, 2021, is the first step in the process of full liberalisation of the aviation market between the EU and Oman. The agreement will now be subject to internal ratification procedures in both parties. Once ratified and signed, it will open up the market and allow Omani carriers to launch an unlimited number of routes to the EU. In turn, European carriers will be able to fly to Oman from any member state of the bloc, regardless of their country of registration.

The agreement with Oman is the EU's second such partnership in the Gulf region, following that with Qatar.