DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Dozens of employees of Oman’s national airline staged a protest in front of the company’s headquarters Sunday, dragging one of the sultanate’s most prominent companies into the unrest that has shaken the strategically important Gulf state.
The Oman Air demonstration follows days of protests elsewhere in Oman urging political reforms. The sultanate and the island nation of Bahrain have seen the biggest and most sustained outbursts in the Gulf as part of the Arab world’s wave of unrest.
Witnesses said about 100 Oman Air employees began gathering by late morning and were calling for improved working conditions. The state-run carrier’s corporate offices are located near the country’s main international airport in the capital, Muscat.
Philippe Georgiou, the carrier’s chief officer for corporate affairs, said flights were not disrupted by the demonstration. He told The Associated Press the airline is willing to talk with protesters, who come from a number of different departments and have a range of demands, including calls for higher wages.
“The general environment is of people expressing their views … in the region,” he said of the protest’s timing.
Oman Air is based in the capital Muscat and flies to 41 destinations, mainly in the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. It also operates a handful of flights to Europe and Southeast Asia.