Oman Aviation Group signs two agreements to enhance air cargo capabilities

Muscat - 

Oman Aviation Group (OAG) has signed two agreements to strengthen its cargo capabilities. The pacts were signed at 'Air Cargo In Focus' event at the new air cargo terminal at Muscat International Airport on Wednesday in the presence of H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, Mustafa al Hinai, OAG CEO, Dr Khalfan al Shueili, Oman Aviation Services CEO, aviation industry experts, as well as some dignitaries .

The event aimed to highlight Oman's growing air cargo industry and to showcase the new, state-of-the-art air cargo terminal at Muscat airport.

H E Dr Futaisi said, “Oman aims to achieve high growth rates in the air cargo sector. So, we are laying the foundations for achieving this ambition and achieving high leaps in current growth rates in the field of air cargo. The current air cargo terminal and Omani roads and airports are designed to meet the latest international standards. All this helps us to achieve significant growth in air cargo.

“OAG’s National Air Cargo Strategy provides a strategic roadmap for economic development and will help attract new freight-related ancillary businesses to the region while increasing cargo loads for Oman Air and other airlines servicing the sultanate. OAG’s objectives through the strategy are to increase cargo tonnage to 780,000 tonnes by 2030, to eventually reach 1.5mn tonnes by 2040. This will be achieved through three strategic pillars that have been developed to transform Oman’s air cargo sector - to retain market share, to enable globalisation of national industries and, to establish a logistics hub for global players.”

Oman Aviation Services (OAS) signed the two MoUs that further strengthen its cargo capabilities, knowledge base and expertise.

The first MoU was signed with ground.net, a pan-European ground services alliance launched in 2013. By uniting local experts in an innovative multi-station network, it provides customer airlines with streamlined access to a full palette of high-quality, customised passenger, ramp and cargo services. OAS is set to become the first non-European member in the next 12 months, which will provide the organisation with access to new markets, knowhow, best practices and training. The second MoU was signed with The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), the only organisation representing all segments of the air freight supply chain.

It supports, informs, and connects companies and organisations of all sizes with the aim of developing an efficient, modern, and unified air cargo industry worldwide. The partnership will allow OAS to enter new international markets.

OAG recently developed the National Air Cargo Strategy which outlines the important measures needed to capitalise on cargo opportunities and develop niche markets in key air cargo corridors. The strategy is designed to strengthen sea-land connectivity in Sohar, Duqm and Salalah to build up their capabilities as strategic distribution hubs.

“Air cargo represents an enormous opportunity for Oman,” said Hinai. “By modernising our cargo infrastructures and implementing an ambitious air cargo strategy, we will be able to tap into niche cargo corridors in several key markets and further drive economic development across Oman.”

With global economies adapting to new consumer realities, Oman is laying the foundation for strong growth in air cargo and forecasts that its current 200,000-tonnes will grow to more than 780,000 tonnes by 2030.

Air cargo demand in, out and transiting through the Middle East is expected to benefit from growth that is increasingly driven by emerging and developing economies like China, Africa, India and Indonesia. Furthermore, global air cargo traffic is projected to grow at 3.8 per cent per annum, with the Middle East, Africa and South Asia projecting the strongest growth.

A 2017 IATA report stated that global goods trade grew by 4.6 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2017, well above its five-year average pace of 2.6 per cent. Since 2013, the sultanate has seen year-on-year growth in cargo tonnage. From 122,000 tonnes in 2013 to 210,000 tonnes in 2017 - a 72 per cent increase - it is currently on track to achieve more than 220,671 tonnes by the end of 2018.

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