Oman Aviation Group seeks to raise $6bn for expansion

Dubai - 

Oman Aviation Group is seeking about US$6bn to fund the building of new airports and an expansion of the sultanate’s national airline.

The state-owned holding company plans to raise the funds through a sale of assets or by taking on more debt, Oman Aviation Group’s chief executive officer Mustafa al Hinai said in an interview in Muscat on Tuesday.

The group is in talks with international banks for a multi-tranche loan starting June 2020, he said, while a privatisation plan is likely to take as many as three years to put together.

The largest Arab crude producer outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Oman’s finances have been battered by a slump in oil prices, pushing the government to look for alternative sources of revenue. Investment in the aviation industry would help the government develop tourism as a greater contributor to the economy.

Oman Air, which receives state support to fund loss-making internal routes, is expected to make a profit in 2026, said Hinai. The carrier reported revenue of RO83mn in 2018, an 18 per cent increase from a year earlier. A Saudi-led boycott of Qatar that hampered that nation’s carrier boosted passenger numbers by 5 per cent.

Expansion plans for Oman Airports include a target of 40mn passengers by 2030 from 17.8mn in 2018, the chief executive officer of Oman Aviation Group said.



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