Oman Airport Cities open for investment

Oman Airport Cities, an ambitious initiative by Oman Aviation Group (OAG) to create new economic clusters around the nation’s international and domestic airports, opens up an array of investment opportunities encompassing logistics, cargo storage, light manufacturing, processing, hospitality and ecommerce, among other areas.

An overview of the broad range of opportunities linked to the landmark project was presented during a webinar organised by the US Embassy Oman last week. The event, focusing on the theme, ‘Oman’s Logistics Industry: Ports and Aviation – Opportunity for investment for US Companies’, was hosted by US Ambassador to Oman, Leslie M Tsou.

Mustafa al Hinai

Oman Airport Cities will offer world-class commercial, retail, hospitality, MICE, leisure and logistics hubs and clusters in close proximity to Muscat International Airport, Sohar International Airport and Salalah International Airport, according to Mustafa al Hinai (pictured), CEO, Oman Aviation Group. Al Hinai was joined by a panel of speakers that included Azzan al Busaidi, CEO, Public Authority for Investment Promotion & Export Development (ITHRAA); Mark Hardiman, CEO, Port of Salalah; Robert Bartstra, Executive Commercial Manager, Sohar Port & Freezone; and Saleh al Hasani, Director General of Investor Services, SEZAD.

Oman Aviation Group was set up by the government to spearhead the development of a thriving national aviation ecosystem in the Sultanate in alignment with the nation’s long-term economic development.  Part of its broad-based strategy is to build Airport Cities around Muscat and Salalah international airports, harnessing investments already made by the government in state-of-the-art passenger terminal and air-cargo infrastructure, while also leveraging Oman’s strategic location in the region.

Muscat Airport City – the Group’s signature project – features as many as five different clusters each centring on a specific investment theme.  The biggest of these is the Free Zone set on a 152-hectare site extending along the southern boundaries of the airport complex.

Investments targeted within the Free Zone cluster include general light industry and assembly operations that are dependent on air transport, high-value fish processing, pharmaceutical distribution hubs, ecommerce activities, and regional distribution hubs for aircraft manufacturers.

Also envisioned within the Airport City are dedicated clusters for Logistics (24 hectares), Hospitality (12 hectares), Aviation (53 hectares), and Business (114 hectares).

In his presentation, Al Hinai also outlined opportunities for investment in regional hubs for e-commerce, office space for free zone tenants, and day-to-day facilities and services required by companies operating across the Airport City.

Wholly government-owned Oman Aviation Group’s broad mandate encompasses national carrier Oman Air, Transom (which oversees five companies focusing on ground-handling, catering, hospitality, cargo services, and Muscat Duty-Free), and Oman Airports (which is responsible for the management and operation of Oman’s civil airports).  The Group will also serve as the National Tourism Operator (NTO) of the Sultanate.