Oman Air is evaluating plans to accelerate its near-term growth as part of efforts to move into profitability.

Chief executive Wayne Pearce is working to turn around the Muscat-based airline’s losses, but is convinced that the airline needs to expand to be profitable. "We certainly wound our losses down in 2012, but we’ve got a long way to go – we need a bigger fleet and continue to make efficiencies and get our seat factors and yield up," he says.

Oman Air has a fleet of 30 aircraft, comprising 17 Boeing 737-800s, seven Airbus A330s and six regional aircraft: two ATR 42s and four Embraer E-175s. Current firm orders stand at 20 aircraft, made up of three A330s, 11 737s and six 787s.

"We have a roll-out of older aircraft, so that will take us to a net total of 44 aircraft by 2018," says Pearce. "But we have a major fleet programme review under way, and we are aiming to expand the fleet to 50 aircraft by 2017, with further growth beyond that to 2022."

But despite the ambition to grow faster, Oman Air is adapting its expansion plans to its role as a national airline rather than a predominantly hub-and-spoke operation like its bigger neighbours. "We are a network carrier, but we’re not trying to get to 100 aircraft in three years’ time," says Pearce.

Source: Airline Business