STRIVING FOR GREATNESS

Oman 2019 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

OAMC is consulting with leading global airports to realize its goal to rank Oman's airports among the top 20 in the world by 2020.

Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Sultan Al-Hosni
BIOGRAPHY
For the past 20 years of his professional career, Sheikh 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 steps need to be taken to ensure that Oman's airports are among the top 20 in the world by 2020?

We are already working toward making sure Oman's airports are ranked among the top 20 in the world by 2020. One of our main goals is providing seamless passenger experience. Offering exceptional customer service and an overall positive experience with convenience is what OAMC strives to provide. Another factor that we are working on is to ensure that the operations at all airports flow smoothly at all times and in an excellent manner. Moreover, we have increased the variety of world-class F&B offerings in our airports and will continue to introduce more brands in the near future. Duty-free is another important highlight that we have worked on; we have some of the best brands in the world at our airports and this is only set to get more appealing to ensure OAMC offers exceptional duty-free shopping.

How has the transition to the new Muscat International Airport been for your different lines of business and operations?

The entire operational readiness, activation, and transition (ORAT) process for the new airport was awarded to Munich Airport as the main consultant for OAMC and associated parties. Consultancy activities included live trials and exercises conducted for more than six months, to guarantee full readiness for the entire airport and its facilities across all lines of businesses and operations. ORAT processes included provision of qualified staff who have been diligently trained to operate the new airport. The team was trained to run all of the airport's technical systems.

How important is it for Oman's development to upgrade and maintain its regional airports?

The development of a country goes hand in hand with the development of its airports. In fact, OAMC's five-year transformation strategy works in conjunction with the Sultanate's strategy to expand the tourism, transport, and logistics sectors. The country offers high connectivity between ports, road, and air, and by maintaining and developing excellent services and facilities in the airports, the country's tourism and economic sectors are sure to reach new levels of success. Plans are in place to ensure that the vision relating to the country's aviation industry complements and supports the Sultanate of Oman Logistics Strategy 2040, which is a plan designed to transform Oman into one of the top 10 logistics location by 2040.

1H2018 saw a 25% increase in cargo business. Why has that occurred, and what operational challenges has it posed?

A new cargo terminal was built, as part of Muscat International Airport's expansion earlier in 2018, with a capacity of around 350,000 tons per year and an expansion capacity of 500,000 tons per year. The facilities include modern and technologically advanced equipment to keep pace with the steady growth in air traffic. The cargo building is fitted with automatic cargo handling that enables seamless processing of cargo containers and pallets. It also contains two state-of-the-art lifts to carry and place goods systematically. This will enable efficient handling and delivery of goods and improve production levels. Keeping in mind that a significant portion of Muscat's import and export cargo is made up of perishables and temperature-controlled goods, the building is fully air-conditioned and has a cold room storage facility that guarantees cold chain integrity is maintained throughout the entire handling process. There is also a 2,500-sqm live animal center designed to manage all types of live animals. The cargo terminal also has offices for the relevant ministries, Royal Oman Police, airlines, and cargo companies, all under one roof. The air cargo industry aims to provide all cargo services with a “one stop station," reducing the burden on customers.

What are OAMC's objectives for 2019?

One of the main objectives is to facilitate the increase of airlines operating at the airports as well as the destinations connecting Oman. Moreover, providing exceptional service and enhancing experience is a continuing objective of OAMC. Moving forward, we hope to score high in the Airport Service Quality survey by ensuring that our customer service in second to none.