Oman Aviation Group mulls privatisation options amid expansion plans

CEO Mustafa Al Hinai says Terminal One at Muscat International Airport will double in capacity by 2030

Al Hinai revealed the expansion plan will come into effect from 2023
Al Hinai revealed the expansion plan will come into effect from 2023

Oman Aviation Group CEO Mustafa Al Hinai has revealed privatisation is an option as the company embarks on an ambitious programme of expansion, sister publication Arabian Business reported. 

“Privatisation will continue to be an option as long as it’s in the benefit of the group and it’s in the benefit of the country,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Al Hinai said Terminal One at Muscat International Airport can cater to 20 million passengers and has a cargo facility of around 350,000 tonnes.

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"Our future expansion, by 2030, we should reach 40 million passengers,” he said.

Al Hinai revealed the expansion plan will come into effect from 2023.

“Once we find a right investor who can cooperate with our future forecasted planning and align with our planning, privatisation would remain as an option for us for the upcoming expansion,” he added.

Meanwhile, Al Hinai said they will be patient with partners Boeing over the current grounding of its 737 Max airplanes.

Oman Air was forced to cancel over 700 flights as a result of the ongoing issues.

Al Hinai admitted that there would be a claim for compensation from Boeing, but stressed this would have to be done once the problems surrounding the 737 Max have been resolved.

The 737 MAX has been grounded throughout most of the world since March following a pair of deadly crashes that killed 346 people.

“As of now we don’t have clarity either from Boeing or from the FAA what is the next step, if we are going to operate the aircraft or not,” said Al Hinai.

“In terms of losses, we are recording all of our losses from grounding the aircraft and when we have a global clarity in what is Boeing’s statement in how they are going to compensate this one, for sure we are going to put our file with Boeing or with our leasers.”

However, he said he would be respecting the long-standing relationship enjoyed with the airplane manufacturer.

He added: “For us in Oman we never mind that the aircraft is grounded as long as our safety record is being maintained high, but when it comes to the financial aspects and its risks, I think we have to wait for the final decision and as Boeing has been a big support to Oman Air and to us, I think as well we always have to be patient in our partnership and that is the model we are working towards for now with Boeing.”

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