Muscat: Oman Air has suggested people to undertake a three-hour bus journey to Sohar from Muscat after suspending its flights to Sohar.
Read here: Oman Air suspends Muscat-Sohar route
The national carrier said passengers can take a Mwasalat bus to Sohar from the Muscat International Airport.
The statement was issued after flight operations to and from the Sohar Airport were temporarily halted by Oman Air.
“Mwasalat is operating more than eight daily bus services to and from Sohar, which connect our passengers with our domestic and international flights around the clock to and from the Muscat International Airport. This shall provide alternative transport services to passengers to and from Sohar,” Oman Air said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Ahmed bin Ali Al Balushi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Mwasalat said they are currently running eight buses to Sohar from Muscat.
Also read: Mwasalat expands network, more buses to Sohar, Nizwa
“While two buses drive directly to the Sohar Port, six buses connect with Sohar city,” he said, adding that there are no plans to increase the bus service now.
Meanwhile, business people in Sohar said Oman Air’s halting the Sohar-Muscat flights would definitely have an impact on them.
“As the Sohar Port is growing, many business people come to Sohar. However, a majority of them would like to stay in Muscat. When the flights were there, it was quite easy for them. Now, they will have to drive for at least three hours,” Vipin Chandran, project manager at Special Development Projects in Sohar, said.
Abdul Wahab, the project head at the Landmark Group in Oman, said halting operations on the route had affected him a lot.
“We are developing the Oasis Mall in Al Khuwair. I am located in Sohar and as the new mall is coming up, I am driving to and fro between Muscat and Sohar after they (Oman Air) stopped the operations. I am losing time and also getting tired.”
However, Chakr Sakr, CEO of Oman Ceramics said: “It won’t affect our business because we usually use the road for our transportation.”
Oman Air also said its strategic intention is to safely serve its guests and generate an economic return, which contributes to strengthening the company’s financial position through an integrated and coordinated network.
“After thoroughly studying the situation pertaining to Sohar Airport’s operations, Oman Air decided to temporarily suspend the flights as they did not achieve the targeted results since the inauguration in November 2014.
“There are economic standards and criteria that define any route’s strength, continuity or permanent/temporary suspension.
In this regard Oman Air has held numerous meetings with the companies and travel agencies at Sohar on a periodic basis, where they were offered special passengers fares along with other privileges to promote flights and support connectivity of the route from Sohar to Oman Air’s global network. However, no economic return or impact has been derived for those initiatives, despite the economic challenges the company and country are currently facing,” the airline said.
It added that the aim is to achieve ambitious and systematic profitability and this should not contradict the company’s long term goals, maintaining transparency and objectivity at the same time.