Oman Air boosts capital; plans expansion
Muscat, April 3, 2010
Oman Air has raised its authorised capital to RO500 million ($1.3 billion) from RO300 million and added eight new destinations for the year, said a top official of Oman's national carrier.
Speaking at the company's annual general meeting recently, Ahmed Bin Abdulnabi Macki, Minister of National Economy, deputy chairman of Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council and the chairman of Oman Air Board, said, 'We are confident that over a period of time when the airline has established its presence in the industry and its network has matured, we will see positive returns on investment.'
'As per the recent data released by Iata, 2009 was one of the most difficult years for the airline industry in which the airlines collectively lost in excess of $11 billion,” he noted.
Globally, Macki said, the passenger travel contracted by 3.5 per cent while cargo movement declined steeply by 10.1 per cent.
'The industry is expected to show improved results in 2010 as passenger travel is picking up especially in the premium cabins,' he remarked.
“It will however take time for the business to return to the levels seen before the economic crisis,” Macki said, adding that the financial results too were impacted by adverse economic conditions.
The Minister said Oman Air would start flights to Kuala Lumpur, Kathmandu, Dar-Es-Salaam, Islamabad, Lahore, Ras Al Khaimah, and Al Ain this summer, with Milan joining the network in the winter schedule.
In 2009, Oman Air had added 28 per cent capacity with the addition of five Boeing 737s, four wide-body aircraft and five long haul destinations, namely, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Male and Colombo, Macki said.
“Our new A330s replaced the wet leased operations on the London and Bangkok routes. We carried 2.4 million passengers, up by 19 per cent. In the context of worldwide recessionary conditions and the new routes introduced during the year, we had a healthy seat utilisation of 61 per cent.”
Peter Hill, chief executive officer, Oman Air, said: “With world markets still in free fall and the airline industry reeling from the effects of this global recession, it was not surprising that the company’s financial performance was significantly lower than originally forecast.”
“We have now in place a first class senior management team that is capable of imparting their skills, knowledge and experience in developing the talents of Omani nationals to enable them to take on a greater responsibility for the management and strategic development of the company in the future.”
“Looking forward to 2010, I am under no illusion that this again will be yet another tough year for the aviation industry worldwide, and for Oman Air in particular,” Hill concluded.
Macki also shed light on the new airport terminal that will be developed in two phases, the first phase of which is expected to be completed in 2014.
This will see the airport’s capacity grow from the present 4 million to 12 million passengers. These additional modern facilities will mean significant business opportunities for Oman Air, Macki said. – TradeArabia News Service
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