Oman Air (WY, Muscat) has revived its plans to start direct flights to the United States and aims to launch a comprehensive study of the market by 2022, the Group Chief Executive of Oman Aviation Group, Mustafa Al Hinai, told Business Insider.

"Flying to the US will happen through a codeshare in the meantime, but in late 2021, 2022, we’ll be focusing on the US market. Because it’s a very big market. But we need to really understand the market first, it’s very complex, each and every city," he said.

Contrary to its fellow Gulf carriers, Oman Air will target predominantly inbound passengers coming to Oman as tourists rather than those connecting through, although it also sees US services as a means to strengthen its Muscat hub.

Al Hinai did not name any specific destinations in the US and did not give a specific timeline for the possible launch of US flights.

Oman Air secured a US Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) in May 2019 albeit for the express purpose of codesharing on flights to the US. According to the ch-aviation schedules module, Oman Air currently has a codeshare partnership with Air Italy (IG, Milan Malpensa) covering services via Milan Malpensa to Miami Int'l and New York JFK.

The state-owned carrier, which operates a widebody fleet consisting of four A330-200s, seven A330-300s, two B787-8s, and seven B787-9s, currently focuses on serving the Middle East, India, and Europe. It has no routes to either the Americas or Australia. Its longest route, to Manila Ninoy Aquino Int'l, is 3,581 nautical miles (6,631 kilometres) long - just over a half the distance between Muscat and the US East Coast.

Al Hinai said that despite the grounding of the B737 MAX, Oman Air remained committed to its cooperation with Boeing. The airline took delivery of five B737-8s before the grounding and has a further 20 on firm order. Oman Air also operates eighteen B737-800s, five B737-900(ER)s, and four E175s, and has another four B787-8s on firm order, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows.

Editorial Comment: The article has been updated to amend that Oman Air will launch a review of the US market in 2021-22, not launch flights. - 31.01.2020 - 01:31 UTC