Positive contribution: National carrier looks forward to sustained growth in 2017
Business Reporter –
MUSCAT, JAN 18 –
Continued fleet and network expansion together with a renewed focus on on-board services and developments will be a priority for Oman Air in 2017; ensuring the airline of the Sultanate of Oman continues to drive up revenues, increases its growing contribution to the national economy and delivers against its ten year development plan.
This message will be reiterated at Oman Air’s major global conference to be held in Muscat on January 19, 2017. The conference will be opened by Maitha bint Saif al Mahruqi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Deputy Chairman of Oman Air and hosted by Paul Gregorowitsch, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Air.
Hundreds of staff from all over the world will congregate in Muscat, where they will hear an update on 2016 results and discuss the outlook for Oman Air in 2017. Staff will have the opportunity to recap on Oman Air’s visions and values and importantly have the chance to input on how these are communicated in the coming year. The focus will be on achieving improved results and providing the best possible customer experience, despite the continuing unpredictability in the market.
Even in the context of increasing global volatility, economic downturn and drastically reduced Government support from over RO 100 million to just RO 20 million in 2016, Oman Air increased its contribution to Oman’s GDP by 6 per cent last year to RO 415 million. This is projected to grow further to a staggering RO 900 million in 2017; creating employment opportunities to Omani nationals, bringing tourists to the Sultanate, building global connections and last but not the least, supporting small and medium enterprises. This positive contribution to Oman’s economy can only be achieved by continuing to generate demand for Oman Air’s expanding network, fleet and services. Continuing to differentiate will be a key focus for the coming year to ensure the airline maintains the positive revenue trajectory achieved over the last two years.
Increasing global competition and pressure from other carriers makes it imperative that Oman Air continues to stand out in an increasingly crowded market place. The airline has continued to prove its worth on the international stage in 2016 with a raft of industry awards to add to its growing collection.
This growing international recognition creates demand for Oman Air’s expanding network. Developments in the past year include: the introduction of a double daily service to London Heathrow; from five times a week, to daily flights to Paris and increased frequencies on other European routes. Manila, Jakarta, Singapore, Goa, Dhaka and Mashhad are other recent additions to the network.
A major milestone at the end of 2016 was the introduction of Oman Air’s first destination in China, Guangzhou, launched in December and the commencement of the four times weekly flight to Najaf, Iraq in November last year.
Network developments are continuing apace in 2017 with the revised flight agreement with the Government of India resulting in increased frequencies to five of Oman Air’s 11 Indian destinations and news of a new four times weekly flight from Muscat to Nairobi, Kenya to be launched at the end of March this year. Also a new daily flight to Manchester, UK starting from May 2017 and the increase of services to Pakistan with the launch of a new Muscat to Peshwar flight later in the year.
Fleet expansion is critical to support the network expansion and 2016 saw the introduction of six brand new Boeing 737-800s joining the Oman Air fleet.
Oman Air has operated B737s for many years and the aircraft provide the backbone of the airline’s long and medium haul fleet.
With the addition of the new Boeing 737 – 800, Oman Air’s fleet stands at 46. Currently Oman Air’s fleet consists of four Boeing 787 Dreamliners, six Airbus 330-300s, four Airbus 330-200s, five Boeing 737-900s, 22 Boeing 737-800, one Boeing 737-700 and four Embraer 175s. Three more Boeing 737 – 800s are scheduled to join the fleet and this year, Oman Air will be unveiling new B787-9 Dreamliners and revamping the existing Airbus fleet.
In addition to fleet and network expansion, training facilities continue to be a major focus for Oman Air. In November last year the brand new Oman Air Flight Training Centre (OAFTC) was opened. This state-of-the-art facility is the first of its kind in the Sultanate of Oman and enables Oman Air to provide their pilots and cabin crew with the highest standards of training, in accordance with civil aviation regulations and industry good practice.
The innovative technology that is integral to OAFTC, together with its strategic location at the airport, enhances the high level of efficiency to which Oman Air is required to work. By operating world-class training facilities in-house, and by offering its services to commercial partners, Oman Air is able to make substantial cost savings which can subsequently be invested to the benefit of our customers.
Paul Gregorowitsch, CEO Oman Air, said: “2016 was a year of significant growth and I would like to give thanks to the guidance offered by, His Excellency Darwish Bin Ismail Bin Ali Al Bulushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs and Chairman of our board, the Board Members, the effective management of our Chief Officers and the dedication of all our colleagues. Our progress in the past year could not have been achieved without the ongoing support of all our business partners.
These include the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) in securing our increasing entitlements and the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) who tirelessly helped us to accommodate increasing flights and passenger numbers at a constrained airport; we look forward to the new passenger terminal opening later this year.”