Continued fleet and network expansion together with a renewed focus on on-board services and developments will be a priority for Oman Air in 2017; ensuring the airline of the Sultanate of Oman continues to drive up revenues, increases its growing contribution to the national economy and delivers against its ten year development plan.

Even in the context of increasing global volatility, economic downturn and drastically reduced Government support from over OMR 100 million to just OMR 20 million in 2016, Oman Air increased its contribution to Oman’s GDP by 6% last year to OMR 415 million. This is projected to grow further to a staggering OMR 900 million in 2017; creating employment opportunities to Omani nationals, bringing tourists to the Sultanate, building global connections and last but not the least, supporting small and medium enterprises.

This positive contribution to Oman’s economy can only be achieved by continuing to generate demand for Oman Air’s expanding network, fleet and services. Continuing to differentiate will be a key focus for the coming year to ensure the airline maintains the positive revenue trajectory achieved over the last two years.

Increasing global competition and pressure from other carriers makes it imperative that Oman Air continues to stand out in an increasingly crowded market place. The airline has continued to prove its worth on the international stage in 2016 with a raft of industry awards to add to its growing collection.

Network developments are continuing apace in 2017 with the revised flight agreement with the Government of India resulting in increased frequencies to five of Oman Air’s 11 Indian destinations and news of a new four times weekly flight from Muscat to Nairobi, Kenya to be launched at the end of March this year. Also a new daily flight to Manchester, UK starting from May 2017 and the increase of services to Pakistan with the launch of a new Muscat to Peshwar flight later in the year.

Fleet expansion is critical to support the network expansion and 2016 saw the introduction of six brand new Boeing 737-800s joining the Oman Air fleet. Oman Air has operated B737s for many years and the aircraft provide the backbone of the airline’s long and medium haul fleet.

With the addition of the new Boeing 737 – 800, Oman Air’s fleet stands at 46. Currently Oman Air’s fleet consists of four Boeing 787 Dreamliners, six Airbus 330-300s, four Airbus 330-200s, five Boeing 737-900s, 22 Boeing 737-800, one Boeing 737-700 and four Embraer 175s. Three more Boeing 737 – 800s are scheduled to join the fleet and this year, Oman Air will be unveiling new B787-9 Dreamliners and revamping the existing Airbus fleet.

In addition to fleet and network expansion, training facilities continue to be a major focus for Oman Air. In November last year the brand new Oman Air Flight Training Centre (OAFTC) was opened. This state-of-the-art facility is the first of its kind in the Sultanate of Oman and enables Oman Air to provide their pilots and cabin crew with the highest standards of training, in accordance with civil aviation regulations and industry good practice.

The innovative technology that is integral to OAFTC, together with its strategic location at the airport, enhances the high level of efficiency to which Oman Air is required to work. By operating world-class training facilities in-house, and by offering its services to commercial partners, Oman Air is able to make substantial cost savings which can subsequently be invested to the benefit of our customers.

Paul Gregorowitsch, CEO Oman Air, said: “2016 was a year of significant growth and I would like to give thanks to the guidance offered by, His Excellency Darwish Bin Ismail Bin Ali Al Bulushi, Minister Responsible for Financial Affairs and Chairman of our board, the Board Members, the effective management of our Chief Officers and the dedication of all our colleagues. Our progress in the past year could not have been achieved without the ongoing support of all our business partners. These include the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) in securing our increasing entitlements and the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) who tirelessly helped us to accommodate increasing flights and passenger numbers at a constrained airport; we look forward to the new passenger terminal opening later this year.

“Together we are on a journey to become the best. Our objectives remain the same, where our financial performance needs to be improved further. These objectives have been facilitating Oman Air’s tremendous growth, making money, increasing our market share as airline of first choice and ultimately running a safe airline. To think that this has all been achieved in the context of an increasingly volatile marketplace and decreasing Government support is a good achievement. I am privileged to be able to work with our dedicated and professional teams and partners and look forward to receiving their input to ensure that we continue on our successful path in 2017.”