In a couple weeks, British Airways will launch non-stop service to Muscat from Heathrow. This is great news for travelers for three reasons.
Currently there is only one european carrier offering non-stop service to Muscat International Airport, which is Turkish Air via Ataturk Airport. However, Oman Air is providing non-stop service to the European cities of Frankfurt, London, Milan, Munich, Paris, and Zurich. Now with British Airways competing against Oman Air directly with non-stop service, we should start to see in more competitive pricing. At least let’s hope, because the Oman Air flight tend to be pricey… albeit for good reason.
Here’s the new timetable effective October 30, 2016. Moving to a non-stop service, British Airways has cut travel time by two hours between the two cities.
British Airways Muscat/Heathrow Timetable (efective 30.10.16)
|Flight Number||Frequency||From/Departure Time||To/Arrival Time|
|BA0079||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun||LHR/1950||MCT/0705|
|BA0080||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun||MCT/1055||LHR/1455|
There is one downside with this move regarding convenience; British Airways is reducing frequency from daily to 5 times per week. Let’s hope that translates into more profitable flying and lower costs for customers.
Previously the British Airways flights servicing Muscat (BA0073/72) would land in Muscat about 10:05 pm and depart Muscat for Heathrow at 11:35 pm daily. These are pretty good flight times for locals because it doesn’t impact our work hours, but I can see how the late hours are not ideal for travelers visiting Oman. What are you supposed to do between checking out of your hotel and your flight departing in the middle of the night? With the new timings travelers are arriving and leaving at better times, and you are not leaving Heathrow during the morning rush hour. Those are all great things.
The downside to the new timing is BA0079 arriving at 7:05 am which is just before one of the busiest times of the day for arrivals at Muscat International Airport. If BA0079 is on-time you shouldn’t have a problem, but if you are delayed and arriving between 7:20-7:35 am; you are screwed. Either way it’s best to get your eVisa before you arrive to avoid the queue to purchase your visa on arrival at the airport.
As a traveler I always support better service, and I see this update from British Airways generally good for Oman, it’s residents, and it’s travelers. Let’s hope KLM and Swiss Air can follow up.
Finally, keep your eye out for travel deals between Muscat and Heathrow from now on. The period between December and March you are unlikely to find deals, but other times for sure.