Oman Air to resume flights to a dozen countries by October

The move comes as international air travel gradually returns to normal after months of shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 September 2020

Oman Air to resume flights to a dozen countries by October

  • There will be two scheduled flights per week to Dubai and Doha
  • Those travelling to Muscat were encouraged to visit the website of the Omani Civil Aviation Authority

DUBAI: Muscat-based Oman Air will resume flights to 18 cities in 12 countries, including the UAE and Qatar by Oct. 1, national daily Times of Oman has reported.

There will be two scheduled flights per week to Dubai and Doha, the airline announced on Twitter.

The move comes as international air travel gradually returns to normal after months of shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Masks are required when guests are on board the aircraft and in Oman’s airports. (Physical) distancing is maintained while guests board and exit the aircraft, which are carefully cleaned after each flight and at the end of every day,” the company assured in a statement, adding in-flight service has also been modified to ensure safety of passengers.

Those travelling to Muscat were encouraged to visit the website of the Omani Civil Aviation Authority, as well as relevant sources from countries of destinations, to check COVID-19-related guidelines and ensure a smooth journey.


Hermes echoes global luxury sales rebound

Updated 7 min 28 sec ago

Hermes echoes global luxury sales rebound

  • Handbag icon reaps benefits of online surge in Asia as pandemic curbs ease

PARIS: Hermes’ comparable sales picked up in the third quarter, rising 7 percent, and the Birkin bag maker said this positive momentum had extended into October after a rebound in Asia and other regions as coronavirus restrictions eased.

Luxury goods manufacturers were hit hard by store closures during lockdowns to combat the pandemic and sales for the industry as a whole are expected to fall by up to 35 percent this year — an unprecedented plunge after a decade of stellar growth.

But a gradual re-opening, even as governments bring in fresh measures to fight rising COVID-19 infections, has helped sales to recover. High-end labels, which used to be more reticent to sell their pricey products online, have also seen web revenues surge.

Hermes — known for its $12,000-plus handbags like the Birkin, which often generates waiting lists — already sells a selection of leather goods online, but said it would make a larger push.

“We are going to gradually increase our offer of products online, except for the very iconic products such as Birkin,” finance chief Eric du Halgouet told reporters.

He said the online channel had now become the group’s “biggest store,” with revenues exceeding those of any of its flagship shops. Sales online grew by nearly 100 percent in all regions in the first nine months of the year.

Hermes’ comparable sales, which strip out the impact of foreign exchange rates and acquisitions, came in at €1.8 billion ($2.13 billion) in the three months to end-September — making it the first luxury brand to post rising overall revenues in the third quarter. Sales of leather goods grew 8 percent in the period while fashion sales were also up, echoing buoyant trends at Louis Vuitton owner LVMH.

“We think this performance reflects the strength of the brand, continued polarization between winners and losers and better insulation from a lower than industry average exposure to tourist demand,” said Citi analyst Thomas Chauvet.

Growth in the third quarter was strong in Asia, where lockdown restrictions were eased first, with sales up 25 percent, while revenues fell by 15 percent in Europe — including a 23 percent drop in France — and by 5 percent in the Americas.

Despite the overall rebound, revenue from Hermes silk scarves were down 20.5 percent in the period. The group said that was due to an unfavorable comparison to a year ago and lower travel retail activity.

Du Halgouet said the positive sales trend of the third quarter had continued into October and the group had not yet seen an impact from new restrictions imposed by European governments as contagion numbers rise again sharply.

But Hermes struck a cautious note for the full-year outlook, saying the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic remains “difficult to assess, as the scale, duration and geographic extent of the crisis evolve every day.”

At constant currencies, sales in the first nine months fell 14 percent to €4.29 billion.