Changing the face of aviation in the Sultanate

Since its establishment in February this year, Oman Aviation Group (OAG) has been seeking to change the face of aviation sector and its related activities, especially since some affiliated companies are major financial drain on the government. This is because of year-on-year losses incurred by airlines.
OAG is currently managed by young Omanis and professionals and is trying to change the current situation, and raise the level of performance of aviation companies.
OAG’s strategy was revealed by Mustafa bin Mohammed al Hinai, CEO, during a meeting with businessmen and employees from aviation, travel and hospitality sectors at Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently held under the theme “The logistics sector and the role of airports in economic revitalisation of the Sultanate”.
Since the announcement of establishment of OAG, it has all civil aviation sector companies under its umbrella, which are owned by the government, namely Oman Air, Oman Airport Management Company (OAMC), Oman Aviation Services Company and others (including Oman Navigation and Meteorology).
It adopted its general strategy and prepared an action plan for establishment of airport cities and free zones, and approved the setting up of Shared Services Centre and subsidiaries.
Moreover, OAG, in cooperation with a number of authorities, aims at facilitating and simplifying procedures to support its vision.
The strategy also included establishment of a unified centre for common services for OAG and its subsidiaries to raise the efficiency of performance and future expansion,
as well as to enhance the efficiency of restructured airports.
The main pillars of OAG are from its recently developed strategy of five major initiatives based on Oman’s need to empower the aviation industry. The first initiative is the re-structuring of Oman Air, which has been accomplished.
In this regard, the CEO of Oman Air revealed that the airline has achieved a 27 per cent increase in income along with 8 per cent minimisation of losses (expenses) during the first quarter of 2018. The second initiative is related to the role of Oman’s airports and their future status.
This is activated through OAMC which is managing Muscat International Airport, which will contribute in overcoming the challenges and increasing operations so that Oman Air can focus solely on flight operations.
The other initiatives aim at expanding the aviation sector capabilities in the Sultanate, utilisation of the geographical location and connect Asia to Africa and Europe.
He also pointed out that in 2016 the aviation sector achieved RO 172 million in direct income, and is expected to contribute this year with over RO 210 million, while working closely with local companies to connect with markets to create a new economic environment capable of generating jobs and economic opportunities to enhance the value of the aviation industry.
According to recent data, the number of passengers at Muscat Airport last year reached 14 million, and is expected to touch 16 million this year, while the number of passengers at Salalah Airport reached 1.5 million during the past year, and is expected to hit 1.8 million this year.
All these steps are designed to increase the contribution of the aviation sector directly and indirectly to the GDP.
According to the strategy in place, OAG aims at increasing the number of passengers at the Sultanate’s airports from 16 million by 2017 to 39 million annually by 2030 by supporting the tourism sector and Oman Air to attract more visitors from abroad and turn Sultanate into a global tourist destination.