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Oman 2016 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Aimen Ahmed Sultan Al Hosni, General Manager for Muscat International Airport, Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC), on developments in the sector.

Aimen Ahmed Sultan Al Hosni
BIOGRAPHY
For the past 20 years of his professional career, Aimen Ahmed Sultan Al Hosni has been leading different organizations, holding executive positions in various sectors such as banking, telecommunications, services, and insurance. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and a Master’s in Public Administration.

What have been the most important developments in Oman's aviation sector recently, and what role has Oman Airports Management Company played?

The government's initiative of developing airports in Muscat, Salalah, Duqm, Sohar, and Ras al Hadd came in support of this vital sector and a belief in its important role in contributing to strengthening the foundations of the Sultanate's economy by creating more opportunities for businesses, especially in the field of logistics and tourism, as well as facilitating better connectivity between Oman and the rest of the world. Airports in Oman, under OAMC, have contributed, in cooperation with our stakeholders, to meeting our targets. OAMC is now a profitable company and has contributed significantly to the government's revenue streams.

What will be OAMC's role in the recently established 2040 logistics strategy?

As a government company, we will always move according to government initiatives. Our role will be significant due to the government's decision to shift the cargo activities of the Sultan Qaboos Port in Muscat to the Port of Sohar. This means that only air cargo will be received in Muscat, which is our responsibility. When the new airport is complete, we will have better cargo facilities, which will attract major players from around the world. We are also trying to align with the seaports by carrying out air-sea cargo, especially in Salalah, Duqm, and Sohar.

How do you cooperate with the government to ensure that aviation supports the promotion of tourism?

We believe that Oman's airports are its gates. Therefore, we always work side by side with our stakeholders to insure that the visitors to our beloved country or the traveler though our airports are in a good hands. We have stands and kiosks at each airport operated by the Ministry of Tourism. We follow the trends of passengers and collect statistics on tourist passengers, which are often used to enhance the tourism experience in Oman.

How would you assess the current level of domestic and foreign investment coming into the aviation sector?

Oman's economic and political stability has increased the attraction of foreign investment. Its ideal location gives us the ability to sell well since we are strategically located between the east and west. With our highly trained teams and cutting-edge status in this field, in addition to the solid infrastructure, we are always facilitating this sector in a professional manner.

What are your targets and objectives for the next five years?

We are developing a 15-year plan that will be revisited every five years. We wanted it to be a 15-year plan since the aviation sector evolves so quickly and we did not want our plan to become obsolete. We are now pushing to sign a concession agreement with the government for a period of 35 years to allow us to invest in the land around the airport. This area can be utilized for various uses, such as shopping malls, hotels, and conference centers. It can be used for aviation or non-aviation related developments. Due to the development of the major airport in Muscat, the government is keen for us to carry out regular expansion plans after reaching a certain number of passengers. With the government investing heavily in the aviation sector, it will contribute to national development. The new low-cost airline will also give a push to the industry. In addition, we are planning to announce a new license for a second ground handler as well as a second maintenance and repair operator. Generally speaking, we need to provide opportunities for local and foreign investment. One of the most important factors that we continue to focus on is our human capital. We work on developing the caliber of Omani employees and also aim to export this expertise to other airports in the future.