Oman’s Transport Ministry unveils ambitious National Aviation Strategy 2030

27 Feb 2020
POSTED BY Ashlee Starratt

Expanding connectivity between Oman and the world, strengthening of the economy, digital innovation, and a restructuring of Oman Air are just some of the key tenets of a new National Aviation Strategy that places logistics and tourism at its centre.

In an gala unveiling on Wednesday, [February 26] Oman’s Ministry of Transport outlined its structure, highlighting the economic impact of a strategy that seeks to directly contribute to the Sultanate’s gross domestic product through the improvement of its aviation sector.

According to Oman News Agency (ONA), the strategy is one that received attention by the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Bin Taimour — with His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik affording equal attention to its merit.

Its unveiling, which was held in the presence of Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Oman’s Minister of Transport, public and private sector officials, and dignitaries, showcased the key tenets that form the roadmap to the strategy’s achievement by 2030.

As per ONA: “This includes developing an effective organizational framework that contributes to supporting and developing the aviation sector, strengthening the Omani economy, creating job opportunities, building manpower, and strengthening companies’ capabilities and expertise.”

  Other critical areas of focus involve integration and collaboration between aviation organization elements through risk avoidance and the harmonization of operations.

Photo credit: Oman News Agency

A change in business model:

Also outlined was a framework for the restructuring of Oman Air by “adopting a comprehensive program designed to address gaps and support growth through changing the Omani aviation business model.” Elements of which will include an updated roster of destinations, enhanced product development, sales, and marketing capabilities; and an augmented level of integration with Oman’s tourism sector with a focus on “linking Europe, Asia, and the Middle East via Oman’s national carrier” via incoming visitors. The end goal of this business model restructuring as outlined by the Ministry is to align the Sultanate and its national carrier to “truly become a premium destination airline, for a premium destination.”

 Speaking at the launch, Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport, elaborated that the strategy will “enable the aviation sector in the Sultanate to compete on a global level by an integrated organization that aims to secure a bigger share in the international aviation market”, with the arenas of travel, aviation, and logistics being integral to the achievement of the Oman Vision 2040’s main goals.


Efficiency and logistics:

Within the strategy is scope for improvement and enhancement of Omani airports’ efficiency as an increase in the number of passengers looms. The upgrades will take into account current and future operation size and will be streamlined with the “introduction of airport cities in order to increase the economic return.”

According to ONA the strategy will also aggressively target the industry’s logistics sector via a holistic air freight strategy that will strive to maintain air freight market share while supporting national industries within the global market. The opening of a logistics services regional centre is slated to help offset this strategy and will be established for international companies in order to “increase freight traffic through the Sultanate’s airports through a number of initiatives, including marketing of the sector, allocating free zones to airport cities, achieving customs efficiency, and the availability of marine-air links.”

Photo credit: Oman News Agency

Tourism and digital innovation:

In light of Oman’s ambitions for growth within its tourism sector, the new strategy would act as a link between both divisions of aviation and tourism by capitalizing upon “the unique tourism potential” of various governorates within the Sultanate. To achieve this, the decline in revenues from the sector will be addressed, with prospective solutions aimed at increasing the number of tourists to Oman and leveraging the impact of their economic return.

  Digital innovation and technology were other cores aspects of the strategy — as both function in a crucial capacity to drive improvement and success across aviation services, such as marketing and logistics. A comprehensive training and qualification investment in the sector’s human capital aims to ensure that there are a “sufficient number of skilled teams to meet the needs of the sector.”

Speaking at the launch on stimulating the comprehensive development of Oman’s travel, tourism, and transportation industries, Mustafa bin Mohammed al-Hinai, CEO of Oman Aviation Group (OAG) said that OAG will roll-out a ‘National Travel Operator’ online platform in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism that aligns with both the National Tourism Strategy 2040 and the tourism distribution strategy for the aviation sector.

Both are viewed as innovative keystones in linking Oman with the rest of the world through “a digital platform that effectively connects Omani travel providers with customers in target markets, and enhances Oman’s tourism image in these markets.”

The first phase of the collaboration will focus on “the impact of targeted sales to the Sultanate by harmonizing the incentives of commercial partners,” through raising the quality of tourism spending in Oman via the National Travel Operator platform. Advanced technology and enhanced digital solutions will enable the platform within the Sultanate’s tourism system.

Mr. al-Hinai outlined that, in its first stage, the National Travel Operator adopts companies operating within Oman’s travel sector, including public transport providers, and hotels and airlines with global commercial markets — particularly in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and India, alongside Gulf countries.

It’s a step that, ONA states “sets up ambitious goals in increasing the number of tourists coming to the Sultanate, achieving financial sustainability, enabling investments in the travel and tourism sector and supporting local tourism to provide an integrated Omani travel experience.”

Also outlined within the National Aviation Strategy 2030 was a master plan from Oman Aviation Group to launch Muscat Airport City.

Source: Oman News Agency

(Also read: Newly-announced Muscat Airport City to transform the capital’s aviation hub.)

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