Oman Air pays record price for Heathrow slots

Oman Air has paid a record amount for a pair of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, according to a report at the weekend, amid continuing doubt over whether the government will expand capacity at the airport.

Gulf carrier Oman paid $75 million for the slots in a deal with Air France-KLM, The Sunday Times reported.

Oman Air declined to confirm the price it paid for the slots and Air France-KLM refused to comment.

The reported price would make the slots $15 million more expensive than the previously most-expensive slot pair bought by American Airlines, in a deal with SAS, about a year ago.

Oman Air already operates a daily service from Heathrow and is keen to put on extra flights from London as it expands its fleet and offers connections onward from its base at Muscat International Airport.

One of the slots Oman has purchased would allow an early morning arrival into Heathrow.

Secretary of state for transport Patrick McGloughlin told the transport select committee of MPs last week that the government remains on course to have a new southeast airport runway in operation by 2030.

However, the government has yet to decide whether to accept the recommendation of the Airports Commission and give the go-ahead to a third runway at Heathrow.

The Airport’s Commission reported last summer and the government promised a decision by the end of last year, but then postponed the decision to this summer pending further investigation into the environmental consequences.

It remains unclear whether a decision will be announced this summer.

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