Oman Air the National Carrier of Oman commemorated its flights to Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), in a gala event held recently in the Malaysian capital, under the patronage of His Excellency Mohammed Bin Nasser Al Khusaibi, the Secretary-General of the National Economy. His Excellency Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Mamat, Secretary General to Ministry of International Trade and Industry, represented the Government of Malaysia. Also in attendance, was His Excellency Aflah Bin Sulaiman Bin Mohammed Al Taei, Oman’s Ambassador to Malaysia.
At the glamorous official dinner reception, leaders of the travel and aviation industries and the Malaysian media were feted at a reception followed by a gourmet sit-down dinner. The carrier’s officials who mingled with the guests included Oman Air’s Chief Commercial Officer Barry Brown, Chief Officer Corporate Affairs Philippe Georgiou, Chief Officer Management Affairs Abdul Aziz S. Al-Raisi, besides other Oman Air officials.
Commenting on the launch of operations to Kuala Lumpur, Peter Hill Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer said, “The addition of Kuala Lumpur to the carrier’s network is part of a route expansion programme that will reinforce its position on long haul routes. The number of tourists visiting Malaysia from Oman this year he added is expected to reach 21,000, a 100 per cent increase from last year with the availability of direct flights from Oman to Malaysia.
On why Oman Air had decided to spread its wings to Malaysia, Hill said, “Malaysia made us decide to fly to Kuala Lumpur. For the Omanis, Malaysia is a natural holiday destination. It is a country with exotic scenery and wildlife, and is a very safe place, on top of having a very high standard of education. All of these ingredients are important to the Arabs as well as to other tourists. I am sure that the new direct link will prove very popular,” he said.
Both Brown and Georgiou were urbane hosts to some 250 invited. The guest of honour, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Mamat, touched on the issue of how Oman Air would boost the opportunities for more Malaysians to perform the Haj and how this direct flight would help boost the number of tourists from Oman to Malaysia, while attracting more Omani students to Malaysian shores. Also highlighted during the evening were Oman’s potential for bilateral trade between both countries, while enabling more Malaysian tourists to appreciate first-hand the uniqueness and richness of the Omani culture and heritage.
Compere for the night was Malaysian celebrity Elaine Daly and the invited audience were enthralled by the multi-cultural entertainment show staged by the Omani and Malaysian artistes. Both Georgiou and Chief Commercial Officer Barry Brown deftly fielded the many questions posed by the Malaysian media. The ultimate message the media took away with them was the fact that Oman Air views its 33rd flight destination as the right move forward and that it plans to fly high with Malaysian and Omani business and tourism travellers’ support. "At present, we fly four times a week from Muscat to Malaysia and I bet we will have daily flights here by next year," Chief Commercial Officer Barry Brown told reporters. He said the airline also planned to have a code-sharing arrangement with Malaysia Airlines and hoped to introduce it on June 1. The move Barry informed is to bring customers to Australasia and North Pacific, in addition to the rest of Southeast Asia.
It maybe noted that during the recently concluded Arabian Travel Mart held in Dubai, the Honourable Dato` Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia, who visited the Oman Air stall and met with the top management members, praised the innovative measures of Oman Air that added value and pleasure to the air travel. She said, “This accessibility will not only encourage more Omanis and people from the surrounding areas to come to Malaysia, but also provides Malaysians an opportunity to see a part of the world that we read a lot about,” Dr Ng said.
The Minister observed that Muscat was situated on the route for the haj and umrah pilgrimage.
She said, “I believe that when Malaysian Muslims go for the haj, they probably would just like to stop by and see Muscat before they go back. And of course, for non-Muslims, Oman, and Muscat itself, is very exotic,” the Minister said, adding that the new service was another feather in the cap in bilateral relations between Malaysia and Oman.