Gulf’s Oman Air seeking further government aid, targets 2024 break-even

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DOHA, Nov 14 (Businesshala) – Oman Air is seeking additional financial support from the government and will raise more debt as it recovers from the pandemic, with the goal of breaking even in 2024, its chief executive said.

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The state-owned Gulf carrier has received government aid during the pandemic but needed state support to help cover next year’s operating costs, Abdulaziz Al Raisi told Businesshala.

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He did not disclose how much support has been received so far, or how much more the airline needs.

Al Raisi, who took over as CEO in 2018 after taking the role on an acting basis, also said the airline has raised debt against non-core aviation assets such as hotels, and raised more to cover operating costs. is planned.

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He said the loss-making airline was still getting government support, but the support was at a lower level than in previous years.

Oman, one of the most economically vulnerable countries in the oil-rich region, has introduced austerity measures over the past year as it controls the state’s deficit and rising debt.

The airline had laid off 15% to 20% of its 5,800 employees during the pandemic, Al Raisi said, although the workforce will be expanded as operations ramp up in response to passenger demand.

Oman Air was currently operating about 40% of its fleet, he said, with operations growing from 60% to 70% in the first quarter.

The airline, which has a wide- and narrow-bodied fleet of 40 jets, according to its website, is expected to return to pre-pandemic passenger traffic of 9.5 million per year by 2023, by which time it also plans to rebuild its network. hopes. 52 destinations. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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