Muscat: The old Muscat airport building is set to be transformed into an operational hub, which will include a training centre, a hospital, and a point for private jet businesses, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Oman Aviation Group, Mustafa Al Hinai.
The CEO of the Oman Aviation Group spoke to Times of Oman regarding the future plans for the old airport: “We have redefined the purpose of the old [Muscat] airport, and one of the main ideas which we are developing is for it to be an educational centre of aviation, and a training centre. We are expecting an international hospital to be operated from the airport, which will mainly be for emergency purposes related to aviation.”
“We are also expecting private jet business, FPOs and helicopters to be operated from the airport. Apart from that, we have some associated services, which will be a part of the airport community services. These are the major points which have been defined to be delivered within the old terminal,” said Al Hinai.
More than 20 companies have expressed their interest to participate in the investment projects, and a total of 10 companies have already been selected and work will begin by 2020. Al Hinai also discussed the direction that the aviation sector in Oman is moving towards this year.
“Technology is a critical focus point for us this year, we are investing in technology for all our operating businesses; we are recognising the efforts put in earlier in terms of having the right infrastructure for the country and having movable assets in place, but now, our focus is on how to build a digital world with all the entities.”
“Within the aviation sector, initially, we are moving with the transformation strategy on Oman Air which is very crucial for us to ensure that there is sustainable traffic to Oman that can allow us to increase our point-to-point traffic,” Al Hinai said.
“Another plan for us this year is to exploit our airports in term of their commercial and operational positioning. We also plan on maximising the sector’s impact through other sectors, and this will be done by looking at how the aviation sector can enable other sectors in terms of their requirements; so, focusing on our sea-to-air model or our engagement with the Ministry of Tourism to study ways in which we can bring larger crowds of tourists to the country,” added Al Hinai.
On Wednesday, February 20, the Ministry of Transport and Communication held a press conference where the minister reviewed all the purposed plans for the year 2019.
During the event, Al Hinai presented the plans for the aviation sector, which include “focusing on digitisation and cybersecurity, implementing the Air Cargo Strategy to enhance the capacity to transport 780,000 tonnes through air by 2030, and developing long-term initiatives for the sector to enable tourism services through the development of a comprehensive electronic system.”
One of the main goals of Oman Air for the year 2019 is to launch new destinations for passengers to and from the Sultanate. According to the data provided by the group in 2018, Oman airports added more than eight new destinations to the total 73 destinations.
Al Hinai also presented some of the main achievements of 2018, which include the opening of Muscat and Duqm Airports, increasing passengers by nine per cent with total passengers from Salalah and Muscat airports amounting to 16.8 million, and adding eight new aircraft to Oman Air’s fleet, which include five Boeing 737 max and three Boeing 9-787 aircraft.