Oman Air plans expansion despite losses
Oman Air plans to buy new aircraft in a bid to modernize its fleet and add new destinations to the carrier's network despite its losses in 2000, a company spokesman said last week. The company board was "studying several options for the purchase of planes and is to choose between the Boeing 737 and Airbus", the spokesman, quoted by the official news agency ONA, said. He did not give a number.
The company has so far this year made a loss of 1.12 million rials ($2.94 million), the spokesman said. However, this would "not have any impact on the modernization plan". The losses were due to a combination of high oil prices, a cut in ticket prices to certain destinations and a lower number of foreign flights to Oman, the official said.
He said Oman Air was to scrap loss-making routes, increase the lucrative routings, to add a fuel tax to ticket prices and cut commissions to agents.
Founded in 1993, the airline's fleet is currently made up of two Airbus 320s, a Boeing 737-400, three Fokker F-27s, two ATR 42-500s and a De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, which is used for domestic flights.
Owned 34 percent by the government and the rest in private hands, Oman Air serves 14 destinations, mostly in the Gulf and Indian sub-continent. The sultanate also holds a quarter share in Gulf Air, along with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.
Oman's international airports in Muscat and Salalah, 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) to the south, are to be privatized, a first in the Gulf, as part of a drive to promote tourism. — (AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)