Oman Air Inaugurates New Boeing NG 737-800 Aircraft
MUSCAT, Dec 24 Asia Pulse - Malik bin Sulaiman al Maamari, Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, presided over a function hosted by Oman Air to commemorate the induction of a brand new Boeing NG 373-800 into its fleet at the VIP terminal at the Seeb International Airport yesterday.
The arrival of the first new generation Boeing 737-800 is part of Oman Air's plan to enhance its fleet with the latest in technology, customer comfort and efficiency.
The new Boeing 737-800 is one of five aircraft Oman Air purchased and obtained on lease from Boeing.
The Minister of Transport and Telecommunications said the inauguration of the new aircraft will boost Oman Air's operations inside and outside the Sultanate and provide a good opportunity for Omanis to contribute to the aviation world.
Juma bin Ali al Juma, Minister of Manpower, said the event marked a new step for Oman Air in achieving qualitative and quantitative expansion and will help the airline play a complementary role in the region and enhance the national economy.
Ali bin Masoud al Sinaidi, Undersecretary for Commerce and Industry, hoped the new development will further promote the Sultanate in the investment and tourism markets.
Dr Hamad bin Hashim al Dhahab, Chairman of Oman Air, said the company's future strategic focuses will be on developing Seeb Airport as an important regional hub.
We will synchronise our flight schedules in such a manner that our regional flights are not only designed to carry passengers to and from Oman, but to also feed our long haul routes thus making Seeb airport an important connecting point.
He said the future plan will also consider modernising the fleet and expand the network in terms of the network we have adopted a strategy of prudent and steady expansion focusing on niche markets.
He said the board of directors had recently approved a plan to launch new services to Beirut, Dar El Salaam, Zanzibar and Mombasa.
Al Dhahab said the airline will also focus increasingly on automation and information technology to improve the quality of service to customers and efficiency in the company, adding that more than Rls 1 million will be spent in the next 12 months to upgrade at the automation level.
He said that Oman Air had established an efficient management organisation structure a month ago.
He explained that the new structure was introduced to improve the company's responsiveness to its customers, meet the public needs more efficiently and improve communication within the company.
There is now improved teamwork and faster decision making in the company, he said, adding that a major cost rationalisation exercise is underway aimed at giving the company a sustainable, competitive advantage in the future without compromising on quality of service.
Another area targeted by the company is developing the Omani workforce in various fields.
Al Dhahab said, "We are proud to have attained a 73 per cent Omanisation level in response to His Majesty's call for creating more job opportunities for Omanis, the company will more than double its training budget for nationals to over Rls 500,000.
In a statement, Dr Al Dhahab said the selection of the 737 was a strategic decision in that the new 737 will enable the company to offer passengers enhanced comfort and reliability, and help achieve targets for operational efficiency.
Abdul Rahman bin Harith al Busaidi, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Air said the company's staff were committed to make Oman Air one of the most prestigious and customer friendly airlines.
"With the arrival of our first aircraft, aptly named Muscat, we are well and truly on our way to achieve that goal," he added.
Oman Air has chosen to acquire five of the new B737NG aircraft, which will be a mix of leased and owned aircraft.
This includes leasing of two new Boeing 737-700 and one new Boeing 737-800 from the International Leasing Finance Corporation. Two more will be on an ownership basis.
Oman Air had signed an agreement with the International Leasing Finance Corporation [ILFC] to acquire a fleet of three brand new Boeing B737 New Generation aircraft.
The agreement, worth Rls 20 million over the 64 month period of the contract, was signed at a ceremony on April 18 at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, Muscat.
These brand new aircraft will replace Oman Air's current jet fleet of A310 and Boeing 737-400 planes, and allow for growth in the network.
Oman Air has also taken an option for an additional B737NG aircraft for planned delivery in 2006, allowing for further growth.
Oman Air's new fleet will consist of four B737-700 aircraft, configured for 12 business class passengers, and 114 economy class passengers.
The fleet will also include one B737-800 aircraft, configured for 12 business class passengers and 154 economy class passengers.
Oman Air has come a long way from the time of its inception way back in 1993.
Today Oman Air is a familiar sight and a preferred airline for the discerning traveler in the region.
Its initial operations to destinations such Salalah Dubai, Trivandrum, Mumbai and Kuwait, have now increased to include Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Dhaka, Doha, Jeddah, Khasab, Chennai and Kochi.
With code share arrangements to Bahrain, Colombo and Zurich, the board of directors have approved the launch of new services to Beirut and Mombasa/Dar-e-Salaam from June 2002.