Responding to market needs

MRO facilities are in short supply in the Middle East.
INTERVIEWS

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Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities are in short supply in the Middle East, but Oman Air is tackling the issue through a joint venture with a leading European MRO company. CEO Peter Hill explains.

Where will the MRO facility be located?

It will be based at Muscat airport and building will begin later this year.

Why is it being built?

We are working with the government on a five-year programme and this includes developing alternative sources of income other than the wealth derived from oil. The MRO facility won’t only be looking after Oman Air’s fleet, but will be looking for third-party work in a big way by the end of 2011, beginning of 2012.

Is it a step towards autonomy?

Not only that, we are looking at the strengths of all of the various aviation- related industries that we can, including engineering, catering, ground services and training. Our own simulator centre will be developed for both pilot and cabin crew training and we will be developing an academy for ground related training.

Is that all happening this year?

It’s all starting this year so we’ve not been wasting our time in terms of just looking at the airline, we’ve been focusing on all the possible developments going forward. It’s important that all these components come under the Aviation Group because as the airline perhaps suffers a slight downturn due to economics, some of the other business can grow and do quite well during those periods, so that’s the overall rationale behind the development for the airline.

What is your ultimate goal?

To get the airline into profit while offering a comfortable experience. Mr O’Leary can continue to charge for his toilets and I hope that people find them worth spending money on, but I doubt it.

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