Interview: Sheikh Aimen Al Hosni

In what ways can technology help improve air infrastructure and enhance the traveller experience?

SHEIKH AIMEN AL HOSNI: To improve the airport customer experience, in November 2022 Document Management Centre was launched in Muscat International Airport. Similarly, in late 2022 an agreement was signed with local firm Bahwan IT to provide an electronic system for managing records and documents. Such developments enhance the overall experience and reflect the ongoing digital transformation efforts.

The authorities signed an agreement with Omantel in order to improve the management of taxi services. Additional agreements were signed with international players Cisco and Vanderlande to support digital innovation opportunities at airports. These agreements also aim to better the services provided to travellers at Muscat International Airport and Salalah Airport using modern airport operating systems and preventive safety measures.

Oman’s electronic visa system has positively impacted the travel and tourism sector in recent years. The e-visa system, managed by the Royal Oman Police, allows visitors to process their visas before travelling to Oman. It automates and simplifies the process of obtaining a visa according to national laws and regulations; generates accurate statistics on the number of people visiting the country; and enhances communication between visitors and the relevant government authorities.

To what extent will partnerships with local and international industry stakeholders facilitate growth?

SHEIKH AIMEN: Continuous engagement with international industry stakeholders is key to facilitating growth in aerospace activity in the region and increasing the sector’s contribution to Oman’s economic development. In mid-2022 Oman Airports signed a memorandum of understanding with Riyadh Airports for cooperation in the supply chain field. The agreement aims to explore opportunities to supply airport systems and related services to achieve maximum revenue. It will also enhance cooperation in training and the exchange of scientific and technical expertise in airport administration, operations and safety. Furthermore, it will provide advanced training courses designed specifically to meet training needs in the region’s aviation sector.

What are the growth prospects for freight and cargo activities in Oman?

SHEIKH AIMEN: Oman Airports has worked with companies such as TRANSOM SATS, the cargo terminal operator at Muscat International Airport, to strengthen Oman’s position as a leader in cargo and gateway to the GCC. Revenue streams associated with the cargo segment were among the most resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, we expect to see additional growth opportunities in cargo and freight activity – specifically in terms of enhanced competitiveness due to higher annual cargo volumes and economies of scale.

How can industry stakeholders collaborate with students on future employment opportunities?

SHEIKH AIMEN: The competencies of employees and teams are key to unlocking sustainable growth and development. This approach has served as a guiding principle through our five-year strategy implementation and continues to do so today. In 2022 Oman Airports’ Learning and Development Centre was awarded official accreditation by the local authorities, which led to the establishment of the Oman Airports Training Institute for vocational and administrative courses. This comes in addition to the international accreditations obtained by the institute, including as a regional training partner for the International Air Transport Association and its membership in the Trainair Plus Programme of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The learning and development centre will enhance human capital training to meet our immediate and long-term growth prospects.