Privatisation of aviation sector part of long-term strategy

Muscat: Oman Aviation Group said that a privatisation plan has been studied for the group and its subsidiaries as a long-term strategy and not specifically for Muscat International Airport.

The group denied reports about the plans to privatise Muscat International Airport and the question is linked to the group’s intention to privatise airports in general.

Speaking to the media about the National Aviation Strategy 2030, Mustafa al Hinai, CEO, Oman Aviation Group, said, “Privatisation is an ongoing process and a special authority has been created for the purpose. A number of studies are underway, including our internal ones. We need to figure out the priority areas, be it our airports, services or technology.”

He added, “The evaluation has started and before the end of this year, we will have a clear picture. We don’t like to announce something that is not is realistic. Privatisation is a long-term strategy and it needs to be considered from the government perspective, commercial relationship, continuity, and the value it brings to the country.”

He added, “We want something for the future generations and need to be authentic in our messages.” OAG affirmed that the privatisation of airport assets is an inherent right of the government, and it is the right authority to make a decision on the matter. The National Aviation Strategy seeks to exploit the potential of Oman airports to attract around 40 million passengers by 2030. It also seeks to increase non-aeronautical revenues through innovative retail concepts, outsourced concession-based car parking management, and improved property management and advertising activities. OAG also plans to develop three airport cities in Muscat, Salalah and Suhar.

The total number of passengers travelling through airports in the Sultanate (Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and Duqm) until the end of November 2019 reached 16.21 million. The number of flights landing and departing from Muscat, Salalah and Sohar international airports by the end of November 2019 reached 104,830, according to the preliminary data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The total number of passengers at Muscat International Airport rose by 4.6 percent to 14.63 million at the end of November 2019, over the same period of the previous year.