Oman Air: Small player, big dreams

Content to remain in the shadows – at least for the moment – Oman Air has shown that it means business. Though its cargo department has contributed nine percent of the carrier’s total turnover, there are enough indications that cargo volumes are set to grow. But the question remains, whether the carrier’s plans for cargo growth face speed breakers now that CEO Paul Gregorowitsch has resigned. Sharang G finds out more.

In addition, the terminal will enable
Oman Air to ensure the transit of
international shipments at a rapid pace.

Gregorowitsch also pointed out
that Oman Air could leverage on its
geographical location, particularly for
combined sea-air transport between
the Far East or India and Europe. Added
to that was the fact that the country
has two large ports, Salalah and Sohar,
and as soon as ocean and air trades join
hands, volumes would naturally rise.
Freight trade would also go up when
trading wiThIran is restarted, and the
Yemen conflict is resolved.

Becoming the best

A smaller player from the Middle
East, Oman Air is aware of the fact
that it has to fight for its share of
the cargo pie wiThthe giants from its
home region: Etihad, Emirates and
Qatar Airways. However, the presence
of these giants has not worried Oman
Air. In fact, Gregorowitsch admitted
that Oman Air knows it has to live with
the Middle Eastern aviation giants, and
emphasised that the smaller carrier had
no intentions of flying to “every corner of this world”. The carrier has instead
concentrated on its key markets: India
being one of them, wiTh180 flights per
week. Simply put, it has been content to
excel in what it does best. The carrier’s
Vision Statement reflects this view in no
uncertain terms: ‘To Become the Best’.

For a carrier that has yet to see profits,
this is a tall task, but one that Oman
Air, or more precisely, its CEO, is not
shy to undertake. According to reports,
the loss made in 2016 was more than
$330 million and Gregorowitsch also
mentioned that the airline would make
losses in 2017.

One of the reasons why the world
hears so little about Oman Air is the
simple fact that it wants to remain
quiet – much like its country of origin.

WiThits deep cultural roots, Oman
has not been touched by the overt
extravagance of its neighbours. Instead
of flashy malls and tall skyscrapers, the
country has gone for controlled growth.
The same can be said for the airline
under the leadership of Gregorowitsch.

Ever since he took over in 2014, he has
worked quietly to boost the airline,
signing codeshares and partnerships,
starting new routes and inducting new
aircraft, like the first B787 in its fleet.

All this was part of a ten-year strategic
plan that the carrier worked out in
2013. Gregorowitsch mentioned that
he was merely pushing the plan ahead
of schedule, which would see the airline
wiTh68 planes by 2020, along wiTha
network of 75 destinations.