Saturday, 14 November 2009

Oman Air PR Nightmare?

So we're all recovered from the big exercise that (pardon the pun) went down over the weekend.
A great job done by all parties concerned however having just had a look at Muscat Mutterings from the ever-entertaining Sythe, I was stunned to see the web-page that the powers that be have decided to put up on the Oman Air website.
This is, in my humble opinion, taking the exercise a step too far. W
ay too far in fact.

You can see the page (if they still have it up) by clicking here.

There's even a rather mawkish statement from the CEO - what on earth were they thinking?

Yes, airlines do post stuff like this on their websites after accidents but seldom to this level of detail. A simple phone number is usually enough. I've never seen anything about body counts and identifying the dead coming up on airline sites before.

Go to any photos of airline crashes from the past and the first thing you will see is the titles and name of the aircraft being covered-up by the airline as no airline wants its name associated with an accident - even if the plane in question is theirs! Accidents and airlines should not be put in the same sentence from a marketing and PR point of view!

Too many presuppositions in this idea. Putting a tiny "exercise" in brackets at the top of the page and repeating it in the text is not enough. People scan webpages - and just seeing the words Salalah and Muscat would be enough to send some folks with families in the region scrambling for mobile phones.
Is there a version in Arabic? What if the reader only has a vague command of the English language. Unnecessary scaring of relatives, friends.......potential future customers! THINK!

And I suppose it would be useless of me to mention how this can further damage the already unstable sales prospects for The Wave.
People will always be people and therefore, as sure as you like, the comment "They must have had a good reason for choosing The Wave." will be echoing around the world at this point.

"Come and buy in The Wave - top quality construction, golf course, sea views and the odd emergency drill in case a 50 ton airliner ends up in your back garden! - not that that will ever happen!"

These things are done worldwide on a monthly basis. But they are done with discretion and certainly not blasted all over the airline's website.

And now that I type this, I've just been informed that Gulf News has picked it up here.

"He said a real aircraft without passengers was placed inside the Wave property behind the Muscat International Airport."........... WTF?!



James said...

Their maths are a little suspect too.
'Flight WY900 was carrying a total of 158 people. Latest information is that there are 3 survivors, 126 injuries, 29 dead (including all 8 crew members).'
The injured obviously didn't survive very long or maybe it was down to the confusion of the moment?
I agree, the whole ting is easily misconstrued especially if you only see a snippet from a google search.
They should definitely take this page down! Acording to the regional press, the drill caused wide spread panic.

Sythe said...

When I broke this story in both the forums and the blogosphere when it happened yesterday, the biggest concern to people was all the sirens going on, and then copdot found the link to the Oman Air website with the story.

It could of been more obvious, but seeing as it's a habit of mine to try and read what is in front of me, after the first second I knew that it was, indeed, and exercise.

But very good point about the Arabic, or lack of, on the website. Not good really. I've also read that the phone numbers posted in the article by Oman Air didn't even work.

No plane was on The Wave property. They just burned a bunch of tyres.

Jet Driver said...

Sorry buddy - forgot to mention where I got the data on the above - that has now been fixed :)


Undercover Dragon said...



Undercover Dragon said...

The page on Oman Air is still up too.

The little piece on the residents being 'killed' is terrible.

Couldn't the exercise have had a miracle outcome with just say a brave crewman taking the hit, while everyone else survived? I'm sure morgue capacity was already well tested by Gonu...

Jet Driver said...


"I'm sure morgue capacity was already well tested by Gonu..."

But only a very small number of "people" were killed in Gonu!
The rest were just sub-continent workers!
Bagged, tagged and flown back, I will never forget how that job was done.

In fact, if any of the Indian reporters are reading this, go and do a story on "The Disappeared"..... I'll bet there's hundreds of families there who's loved one never came back and they have no idea why.


Anonymous said...

"The Disappeared"....oh do tell?????

Jet Driver said...


""The Disappeared"....oh do tell?????"

You know. The ones who were here in 2007 and ended up buried under 200 feet of mud and who never had anyone bother to look for them or report them missing - particularly any absconders or those who were never fully "processed" by their captors, sorry...I mean "sponsors".


Bobby said...

the page is STILL there!
Has Oman Air no shame!?

Karim said...

JD, you said

"Accidents and airlines should not be put in the same sentence"

Isnt that a cover up? I did notice that all accident fotages never show the aireliner name, it is a cover up. You saying that is like exxon not mentioning the alaska spill, or PDO not anouncing the zuwalia well blou out?

What makes the air industry so special as be allowed to spin their accidents? It will not stop aircraft from falling from the sky, will it?

Jet Driver said...


"What makes the air industry so special as be allowed to spin their accidents? It will not stop aircraft from falling from the sky, will it?"

The reason for it is mainly two-fold.

It's a matter of not scaring the shit out of your customers.
Trust me - as a fare paying passenger you don't want to be sitting on an Oman Air jet at Muscat and looking at the charred remains of a similar machine on the ground.

Secondly, it is about damage-limitation. Something that all businesses do.


Muscato said...

Too true, JD - it's one of the things that one remembers from some African airports, which routinely leave the hulks of old planes around, all too often just off the runway. Makes one (even more) nervous...

I think it was Banjul that I actually saw people living in what was once, if memory serves, an Air Afrique jet...

Karim said...


I will understand the need to remove charred remians of aircrafts from airports, but I dont understand the doctoring of official videon footages to remove the aireliners name from the wreckage, or the unchallenged purposfull spinning of the facts.

Other idustries will not be allowed to do this, do you remember the brent sparr fiasco?

Jet Driver said...


Yes - am showing my age with Brent Sparr!
I have not seen much editing of videos - I am talking about a physical covering up of the titles and company logos with plastic sheeting and tape.

What videos have you seen in the past where it was edited to remove images of the airline livery.