Oman and Kuwait might be poised to win big as demand for long-haul routes diverts to airports in the two countries that have remained neutral in the in the Gulf-Qatar dispute .
Muscat Airport had already witnessed a 20 percent growth in traffic in the first quarter of the year owing in part to new routes flown by low cost carrier Salam Air to destinations in Pakistan, UAE and Saudi Arabia. But that figure is surging further as Oman Air attempts to capture traffic that otherwise woud have flown through Doha before the ban on Qatari flights through UAE, Saudi and Bahraini airspace last week, according to a spokesperson for the carrier.
Flights have increased by 25 percent since the row started, an Oman Air spokesperson told Abu Dhabi's The National, as the airline attempts to "fill up the gaps on transit and direct flights for travellers where Qatar Airways cannot fly or the regional airlines have suspended flights to." The carrier had five Boeing 787 Dreamliners "that were working under capacity and are now taking the new load," the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile Kuwait might also be set to see an increase in traffic bound for routes in Europe and beyond diverted through its airports and airline as the row rages. Owing to an increase in demand, Kuwait Airways in March had announced earlier that it would increase route frequencies from Dubai to Kuwait and onward to its European network from 18 to 25 flights per week; flights from Doha to Kuwait would be increased from nine to 14 per week.
Aviation Business has reached out to Kuwait Airways for comment.