On November 2, the first Edelweiss Air flight arrived at Muscat International Airport. As per tradition, the airplane was ‘greeted’ with a Water Cannon Salutes and a special event with senior staff from Muscat Airport.
The new flight was the result of a joint partnership between Edelweiss Air and Oman Airports in an effort to promote Oman as a premier destination for both tourism and business.
As countries in the Middle East slowly begin to open up to tourism after the effects of the pandemic, there is already increased interest in the Oman tourist visa. With this new partnership, Edelweiss Air can connect Europe to the Middle East and beyond.
New Edelweiss Air Route
Founded in 1995, Edelweiss Air is a budget airline and the sister company of Swiss International Air Lines. Both operate under the same parent company (Lufthansa Group).
Edelweiss Air’s current fleet includes ten Airbus A320-200s and four Airbus A340-300s.
Edelweiss Air’s main hub is at Zürich Airport, Switzerland. Thanks to its central location and partnerships around the world, the airline flies to more than 70 cities across 35 countries.
This includes short domestic flights to Europe’s most popular leisure resorts in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey and long-haul flights to exotic destinations like Brazil, the Maldives, Seychelles, and Vietnam.
The newest destination added to Edelweiss Air’s roster is Zürich, Switzerland (ZRH) to Muscat, Oman (MCT). There are two weekly flights between the two countries, except during the summer and autumn months (May through October), when there will be three to four flights per week.
The ZRH – MCT flight will depart weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays at 13:15 and, after a direct flight, arrive in Muscat at 22:45.
Travelers who are planning to buy round-trip tickets will be pleased to know that there is also a return trip route. The MCT – ZRH flight also departs twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1:50 in the morning, and arrives in Zurich at 6:10, just in time for work (or the weekend!)
Oman: An Up-and-coming Tourist Destination
This strategic partnership between Edelweiss Air and Oman Airports is not a coincidence.
In recent years, Oman has positioned itself as a premier destination for leisurely tourism and business. In fact, nearly 16 million passengers passed through Muscat International Airport in 2019, with a high potential for growth in upcoming years.
Developments to Oman’s tourism industry started in 2007 when Muscat International Airport underwent a multimillion-dollar expansion to construct a new terminal, control tower, and runway. In 2018, the airport reconstruction was completed, and it is the largest airport in the country.
Thanks to this, Oman is on its way to becoming a key MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) destination like its neighbors in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The country is rapidly expanding its business and convention infrastructure, as seen in the recently-opened Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC). Located just 4 kilometers from Muscat International Airport, the OCEC is already hosting world-class exhibitions and conferences.
However, it’s not just all business meetings and contracts. Oman is also looking to expand its tourist attractions in order to appeal to visitors around the world. At the beginning of 2021, the Royal Oman Police extended its visa-free policy to include nationals of more than 100 countries.
The authority noted, “As part of the efforts to support the tourism sector in the Sultanate, it has been decided to extend the exemption period for the nationals of 103 countries […] to 14 days.”
At the moment, the most common citizens visiting Oman come from India, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Germany, and the United States.
Besides a straightforward visa regime, Oman is the perfect country for tourists because of its superb infrastructure, welcoming locals, and high level of safety.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of interesting attractions to see and do in Oman. Many are part of the country’s intangible heritage: travelers can marvel at the beautiful (and remote) Jabal Akhdar Mountains, swim through the turquoise waters of Wadi Shab gorge, or go back in time with a trip to Nizwa Fort.
Of course, Muscat, the capital, also offers plenty of interesting spots as well. For example, the most important spiritual site in the entire country can be found at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. This modern mosque was built with materials from all over the world, including more than 300,000 tons of sandstone from India, the finest handmade carpets from Iran, and the world’s largest chandelier from Italy.
For a bit of shopping, the Mutrah Souq offers a bustling maze of shops and kiosks for every taste, including handmade souvenirs to delight friends and family back home.
Finally, travelers can see what a traditional Omani village looked like with a visit to Bait Al Zubair, a privately-owned museum that also includes ancient weapons, arts, and local Omani costumes through the centuries.