Airline and Airport Operations

Airline and Airport Operations (Oman Air)

Introduction

            Based in Muscat international Airport, Oman Air is the national airline of Oman and a member of Arab Air Carriers Organization. The airline operates a regional air taxi, and scheduled international and domestic passenger services. Oman air was established in 1970 as Oman International Services (OIS). (OIS) experienced a steady growth which led to building of several facilities such as workshops and in-flight catering and hangers to cater for the increased activities. In 1993, (OIS) became Oman air with its first flight taking place in March which was from Muscat to Salalah. Airline and Airport Operations

            The Airline has been implementing a ten year strategy that targets the tourism industry. The company has invested heavily on infrastructure. New airports have been built and the state of the art aircrafts have bought. The airline has increased their destinations to expand their market. Massive loss has been incurred in the cause of implementing the strategy. Oman Air also has a business environment that work against the airline and others that promote their business.

Factors within Oman Air Business and Competitive Environment Analysis

Factors Affecting the Airline Positively

   External Factors

          Political factors
Policies

The Government of Oman has a 99.8 ownership of Oman air hence determining most of the policies governing the Airline. The fact that the government is the largest stakeholders mean that political environment is friendly regarding the national laws. The government has created a conducive environment for the Airline to operate. For instance, the Airline has not been experiencing much problems in matters regarding licensing[1]. Airline and Airport Operations

The government of Oman has also in the past engaged other countries to ease the process of license acquisition for Oman Air which has led to its vigorous expansions regarding destinations. Importation of new aircrafts and other machines has also been facilitated by the government which has led to the Airline owning the state of the art infrastructure.

Security

The government controls security in the country and for the fact that they have some interests in the airline means that the security of the airline premises will always be given priority. Security in airports and other facilities owned by the Airline is always at it best meaning that the Company does not require incur additional cost on the matter. The government also has the capacity to engage other countries where the Airline operates on matters security[2]. Improved security from government operations will result to client confidence leading to more business for the Airline. Airline and Airport Operations

Funding

The Airline has been given budgetary allocations and grants by the government to acquire new aircraft and build airports. The government also has the capacity to waive taxes for the Airline which results to competitive ticket prices. Oman is also an oil producing country with the government also owning a lot of stake in the sector. The fuel prices have been fluctuating a lot in the past affecting highly affecting the ticket prices[3]. Oman’s government has been able to provide almost near stable oil prices for the airline hence leading to near stable ticket prices and hence a more satisfied clients.

Social Rest

Oman is a largely peaceful country within the gulf region enhancing airline activities within the country. Social unrest can also scare away visitors to the country affecting the air travel sector negatively. Social rest has contributed to the growing number of the airline customers in terms of tourists. The gulf region is also highly creating an economic zone that is steadily rising[4]. The region attracts business people from all over the world increasing clients for the airline.

Macroeconomic factors
                      Economy

Oman’s Economy has been expanding at a very high rate in the past fifty years. The country’s GDP has been on the rise with the much in put originating from the oil sector. Economic improvements have led to citizens with higher buying power which has boosted the Airlines local and abroad activities[5]. The country also exports a lot of commodities using the airline as the avenue making increasing their activities abroad. A better economy has also enhanced the government to support the airline both financially and security wise. Airline and Airport Operations

Consumer Confidence

Improved security and almost stable tickets have led to the Oman’s Air clients having a lot of confidence with them. The clients are almost sure that insecurity cases are not likely to happen and the prices will rarely fluctuate[6]. The stable economy has also enabled the airline to maintain competitive ticket packages and offer discounts enhancing marketing. Airline and Airport Operations

                  Microeconomic factors
Market Size

Gulf region mostly operates as an economic region greatly expanding the market size of Oman Air. Almost similar policies that guide the gulf region markets helps the airline to operate without much difficulties. Apart from the regional market, the airline also operates flights to other destination in Asia, Europe and Africa. Oman Air has been able to maintain an expanding market hence increasing their revenue base[7]. Airline and Airport Operations

Demand

The enlarged market and competitive ticket prices boils down to an increase in demand of the airline services. Increased demand results to further expansion of the markets adding more customers to the airline[8].

Supply

Oman has introduced mechanisms to meet the demand of their services. By 2018, the Airline targets to increase their fleet to 50 aircrafts and to 70 aircrafts by 2020. In 2014, the airline purchased Boeng B33s and Airbus A330s and opened various destinations[9]. Airline and Airport Operations

Competition

In the gulf market, the airline faces stiff competition from other companies but the company has been able to compete fairly well by working with a business model different from the others[10]. Oman does not offer a generic ‘Gulf Carrier model’ rather they incorporate a unique touch of Oman culture, hospitality and identity. Improving is another strategy that the company employs to deal with competitors. For instance, the airline offers lounge to aircraft limousine service to some of their clients[11].

                     Social Factors

As mentioned earlier, the company employs the unique Oman’s culture and hospitality to have a competitive edge. Being owned by the government also gives an ambassadorial role and hence challenging them to work hard. Supporting social missions such as sports and giving out scholarships improves the airline activities in the country[12].

                       Technological factors

Oman Air has been on the forefront in incorporating technology in air travel. The airline was the first company to enhance use of mobile andWiFi internet in some of their flights. Technology has also been employed to speed up and ease the booking process. Oman air has also invested heavily on aircraft using state of the art technology to cut cost and improve customer satisfaction. Airline and Airport Operations

                               Environmental factors

Environmental conservation is observed in and around the airports to ensure that accidents caused by environmental factor are eliminated or minimized hence reducing losses emanating from damages and boosting customer confidence[13]. A fairly good weather in Oman also helps the airline to conduct its activities all the year round.

        Internal Factors

Management changes

The government of Oman has maintained an ownership of Oman air of not less 30% since the airline started decades ago. The government has been heavenly involved in the managed of the airline without changes. This factor has been advantageous to the airline since polices are executed easily without much interference emanating from management changes[14]. Airline and Airport Operations

Employee morale

The employee benefits package for Oman’s airline appealing. Besides the normal salary, the employees enjoy health and life benefits, savings and retirement benefits, free travel, career development opportunities[15]. All these benefits helps to keep the employees highly motivated and improve their output

Culture changes

Consistency in management has enabled the company to maintain their business cultures almost creating an identity. The cultural changes have been minimal and long term hence eliminating adapting confusion[16]. Airline and Airport Operations

Financial changesand/or issues

Oman’s air always has a source of financial support from the government. The government of Oman has invested heavily on the airline enabling the airline to execute their strategies even when the airline is not doing so well financially[17].

Factors that affect the Airline Negatively

External factors

Political factor

Oman air being state owned, has been heavily relying from the government. Although the government support is welcomed, the over reliance can kill the company’s competitive desire. Companies determined to make profit for their owner are always aggressive in the market space. Airline and Airport Operations

Competition

Some big airline companies such as the fly emirates and the Qatar airways give the airline a very stiff competition. These companies have capitalized on the market where this (gulf) market   where the company does not give a lot of concern[18]. Airline and Airport Operations

Economic factors

The airline is highly affected by economic hard times. When the national economy is not doing well the company is affected because of its over reliance.

Internal factors

Management Changes

Oman air, due to its state ownership has not experienced much changes in management. This factor although in some aspect it is advantageous, the company has not taken advantage of diversity in ideas. Policy formulators are same with the traditional view of the market[19]. New minds in management can come up with fresh ideas that can help a lot in the airline expansion.

Culture changes

Oman air has also not exploited the business cultural changes where by fresh ideas are implemented to counter emerging problems due to the state ownership. Airline and Airport Operations

Plans or Actions the Oman Air can adopt to Overcome Uncertain times

Employees Morale

Oman’s air have been involved in strikes and pickets over the past due remuneration issues. The company has failed on several occasions to ensure that the employee issues are sought out amicably without harming the institution[20].

Reduce over Reliance from the government

Government support is welcome in terms of finance and policies. However, the airline should not rely on this support to survive. The airline should struggle to exist as an independent entity surviving on its means. Being a singular entity can help the airline to come up with the effective measures to survive even under economic recessions[21]. Airline and Airport Operations

Coverage Expansion

Oman’s airline destinations outside the country is not very comprehensive. Most of the airline destinations are in Asia and Europe. Extending their destinations to diverse markets such as the sub-Sahara Africa and America can help the airline avoid effects of hard economic times. This avoidance is possible because large market size can lead to more revenues and hard economic times do not hit all the markets at once. Normally, when some markets are doing badly there others that perform which can salvage the situation[22]. Airline and Airport Operations

Product and Marketing Differentiation

Marketing mix

Products

            Oman air has a primary goal of increasing visitors to Oman. The airline targets trade visitors and tourist from their country of operation and their partners regions of operation. Combining efforts with the tourism ministry, the airline has embarked on missions to lure visitors in their country[23]. The most distinct product that the company deals with fall under the economy class seats, business class seats, first class and business lounges and cargo shipment.

Pricing

Despite the major improvements in their products, Oman air has not increased their prices and continue to charge normal prices as most of their competitors[24]. Airline and Airport Operations

Promotion

In the quest to increase visitor to Oman, the airline has embarked on giving free family trips to flight agents from their destination. State of the art technology is also used in flights for entertainment and to enhance other services such as bookings. Despite major improvements in their lounges the company has also not increased ticket cost[25].

Place

The primary goal of the airline to lure customers to Oman has led to the company targeting people outside the country.The strategy has seen the number of people using the airline highly increase[26].

Identifying and serving the ‘customer’

            The Airline targets potential visitors to the country who they categorize as tourist or business people. Oman has improved highly their business class sections of their flights and the airport lounges. Further, the airline has improved entertainment through innovation and technology to better serve the customer. 

            Market segmentation

The company major strategy is to drive traffic to Oman. This has led to the targeting of potential investors and tourists. The airline has created products targeting investors and tourists making them their major target market.

            Business and marketing Strategy

The business strategy that the airline is implementing is to more people visit Oman. The strategy is more different compared to the other airlines who focus on increasing traffic in their network of operation. The uniqueness has led to the airline being more powerful than its competitors. The marketing strategy of creating products that target tourist and investors have also worked positively for the airline because the competitors use other strategies.

            Airline product and differentiation

The airline has created products that target a particular market in different levels. The luxurious aircrafts have the first class, business class and the economy, classes. All the classes have been improved in order to accommodate every client. This factor has led to all the customer satisfaction hence an improved business. Airline and Airport Operations

            Brand management

The airline has identified a single business strategy that they have built their brand on. The Oman air business revolves around the tourism sector. This brand has become an identity to the business such that most tourists will prefer their services.

            Pricing and revenue management

Despite heavy investment on their packages, Oman air has maintained constant prices which has given them a strong competitive edge.

Distribution strategy and channels

The company new products have been placed at strategic places where the customer must realize them. Customers must realize the improvements on the business classes and the airport lounges. Airline and Airport Operations

            Relationship marketing and promotion

Oman air has been able to create a relationship with their customer by creating discounted long term ticket packages. These tickets create a long for the airline to interact with the clients.

Business and marketing strategies that made this airline superior

Product

 The business strategy that the airline is implementing has made the airline to incur a lot of cost. The luxurious aircrafts and the lounges have are very expensive leading to the airline making a lot of loss. Loss incurred can scare away partners and contractors hence affecting the airline negatively. Airline and Airport Operations

Promotion

The discounts on air tickets have made the company to incur further loss that can also scare away partners and contractors.

Oman air has been able to create a products that target a specific market. The airline targets investors and

The product mix that makes the Airlines improve its load factors

Oman air is an airline in Sultanate of Oman and based in Muscat. The airline operate flights in the Gulf and region and the larger Asia. Oman air also has direct flights to some Europe cities such as Zurich and Paris[27]. Apart from the Asia and Europe, the airline has direct flights to some parts of Africa. The company also has a number the codeshare agreement with other airlines such as the fly emirates. Oman Air specifies on two types of products that are- on-ground and inflight services.             

On-ground services include a First and business class lounges at their headquarters. The lounges feature complimentary spatreatments, a la carte dining, and elegant and tranquil relaxation areas. A first class Lounge-to-aircraft limousine service and premium check-in facilities are also offered at Muscat international airport.

The Airline Inflight services are outstanding aircraft interiors that include a mini suite that provide direct aisle to each of the six First Class Passengers. The Mini Suite also converts to one of the longest lie flat seat in the skies. Business class seats also have some outstanding feature such as the ample storage, latest technological amenities and a direct aisle Access[28]. The economy class also is not left behind, its seat have adjustable leg and head rest combined with a generous leg elbow room. Other inflight services are video and audio on demand, live satellite TV, mobile and WiFi internet services, and individual seat back screens.

The products discussed above assisted the company generate a lot of traffic towards Oman. Despite increased number of visitors, the airline is currently trading at a loss which can be attributed to the heavy investment they are making on infrastructure. Most of the airline revenues are used on recurrent expenditure and infrastructure. Revenue is used in line with the business and the marketing strategy of the organization. Oman’s Air business strategy is to generate traffic towards Oman as opposed to its competitors whose strategy is to generate traffic in their network of operation. The market strategy that the airline uses to fulfil their business requirements targets tourists and business investors. Attracting investors and tourists will call for luxuries in the aircraft and motivated employees which justifies Oman’s air use of revenue[29]. Airline and Airport Operations

Inflight services

assess how well the airline has performed financially during the past 5 years

In the financial year 2011, the Oman air revenue increased by 35% compared to the previous year. The number of passengers increased to 3.8m which was a 16% increase from 2010. The seat factor increased to 73% and the freight revenues increased by 28%. The overall loss was US$286% or RO110million.

In 2012, Oman Air’s recorded 11% decrease in losses registering a loss of RO97.47 million and the revenue increased by 18 percent as compared to 2011. The seat factor increased up to 73.8%. Freight revenue increased by 36%. The number of passengers rose to 4.5m[30].

In 2013, revenues increased by 14% and a decrease in loss of 8%. The seat factor increased up to 74.1% and freight revenue increased by 38%. The number of passengers rose to 4.9 million. The overall loss was RO84.21 million.

In 2014, revenues increased by 4%, to RO 398.389 million and losses reduced by 4% also. The number of passengers rose from4.9 million to 5.1 million passengers. About 23,500 round trips were recorded. Capacity rose to 15.2 billion seat kilometers. A 74.4 seat factor was also achieved. The overall loss was 5.096 million. The freight revenue also increased by 39.2%[31].

In 2015, revenues increased by 3% to___ million and the losses reduced by 2%. The number of passengers increased to 5.26 million passengers and about 23,900 trips were made. The capacity rose to 16.2 billion seat kilometers and a 74.6 seat factor was achieved. The overall loss was 5.134. Freight revenue increased by 40%

Over the past five years, Oman air has recorded a uniform diminishing loss. The loss was highest in being recorded in 2011 and the lowest in 2015. Over the years also, the company experienced a cumulative increase in revenue. Capacity also has been increasing steadily since 2011 together with the number of trips made increasing. The seat factor has shown a slight increase over the past five years.The freight revenue has also been on the rise since 2011[32].

Over the period that this financial data was recorded, the airline was still in the process of implementing a ten year strategic plan that aimed at increasing the number of visitors in Oman. The strategic plan involve increasing the number of flights and the size of the aircrafts. The plan also includes improving the airport and the flight services of the company due to the type of clients they were targeting. Since the launch of the plan, the airline has accomplished better services in the aircrafts, increased number of destinations, improved routing network, convenient schedules for passengers itineraries through use of technology, technologic fleet planning and assignment, standard business practices and a successful long term strategy[33].

The long term strategy has resulted to the financial records shown above. The increased revenue comes from the expansion of customer base through the increased destinations. Discounts on air tickets has also resulted to more customers using the airline.  The strategic plan has also increased the number of air crafts implying that even though the number of passengers increased there enough aircraft to accommodate them hence resulting to an almost constant seat factor. The slight seat factor can be attributed to other components of the strategy. Increased number of aircraft has also contributed to the increase in the freight revenue. Increased destinations and the number of aircraft is the major cause of the airline capacity increase. The airline also introduced state of the art lounges and highly improved customer services at Muscat international airport to compliment the luxurious the aircrafts for the targeted market[34]. The Airport the airline have been working in harmony to achieve a similar goal. The loss witnessed from 2011 is as result of the heavy investment the airline is making to implement the strategy. The discount on air tickets have also contributed to the loss. The Loss has been diminishing uniformly because a breakthrough is expected in 2017.

Increased competitions, regulation and relevant global issues have not been able to play a very big role because the strategy has made the airline a force to reckon with. The financial performance has no impact because the airline is funded by the government. All other factors effect can be said to be negligible compared to the effects from the strategy[35].

Conclusions

Some factors in the business environment of Oman air work to advantage the company and others disadvantage the company. Government ownership is such factor that affect the business positively and competition is a factor that affects the airline negatively. Oman air, over the past few years has been implementing a strategic plan to increase their destinations and capacity. A business strategy that targets an increase in the number of visitors to Oman is underway.

             The Market strategy target tourists and business investors in order to achieve the business strategy. In trying to implement the strategy, the airline has invested heavily on infrastructure such as expanding airports and acquiring of new and large aircrafts. The investment has resulted to the airline becoming one of the big forces in the industry.

            Various benefits that the company enjoys currently can be attributed to this plan. For instance the company has experienced an increased revenue since the strategy began to be implemented. From the similar strategy, the company has also suffered some negative impact. Some of the negative impacts that the company has experienced include loss of contractor and partner confidence due to incurring losses. Oman government and the airline expect that the strategy will reach a break-even point in 2017.

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[1]James Patrick, Hanlon, Global airlines: competition in a transnational industry. Routledge, 2007

[2]Mostafa, Kazemi, And Bagherieh-Mashhadi Amirhossein, “A Comparitive Analysis Of Airlines Efficiency: Evidence From Middle East And North Africa.”

[3]Azza Saad, HA and Abuelenain Emad, “The Contribution of Airlines in Consolidating the Sustainability of Tourism.”

[4]James, Ott, “Oman exploits its strategic location.” Aviation Week & Space Technology 173, no. 16 (2011).

[5]Boon, LL, and Worthington, AC, “Operational performance of low-cost carriers and international airlines: New evidence using a bootstrap truncated regression.” (2011).

[6]Boon, LL, and Worthington, AC, “Technical efficiency of mainstream airlines and low-cost carriers: New evidence using bootstrap data envelopment analysis truncated regression.” Journal of Air Transport Management 38 (2014): 15-20.

[7]Wolfgang, Grimme, “The growth of Arabian airlines from a German perspective–A study of the impacts of new air services to Asia.” Journal of Air Transport Management 17, no. 6 (2011): 333-338.

[8]Anne, Paylor, “Oman Air Finally Fulfills National Carrier Ambitions.” ATW: Air Transport World 44, no. 11 (2007).

[9]Anne, Paylor, “Oman Air Finally Fulfills National Carrier Ambitions.” ATW: Air Transport World 44, no. 11 (2007).

[10]Alan, Dron, “The other Gulf carrier: Oman Air is quietly growing and expanding, albeit in the shadows of its much larger Gulf carrier neighbors.”AIR TRANSPORT WORLD 50, no. 8 (2013).

[11]Robbie, Shaw, “Oman Air.” Airways: a global review of commercial flight12, no. 5 (2005).

[12]James, Romanow, “Oman Air: A Developing Airline For A Developing Middle Eastern Country.” Aviation International News(2003).

[13]Greg, JB,Gittel, JH, Kochan, TA, and Nordenflycht Andrew, Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press, 2013.

[14]Cochennec, Y. “Gulf carriers and the art of one-upmanship.” Air & Cosmos, Aviation Magazine International 1890 (2003): 30-32.

[15]Julia, Teigeler, “Arabic Airlines in the European Market. Strategies, Consequences and International Market Changes and Challenges.” (2015).

[16]Sundaram, N, and Al-Aali Abdulrahman, “The exceptional performance strategies of Oman Airlines.” Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal 21, no. 5 (2011): 471-486.

[17]Sundaram, N, and Al-Aali Abdulrahman, “The exceptional performance strategies of Oman Airlines.” Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal 21, no. 5 (2011): 471-486.

[18]Greg, JB,Gittel, JH, Kochan, TA, and Nordenflycht Andrew, Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press, 2013.

[19]James, Romanow, “Oman Air: A Developing Airline For A Developing Middle Eastern Country.” Aviation International News(2003).

[20]Sundaram, N, and Al-Aali Abdulrahman, “The exceptional performance strategies of Oman Airlines.” Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal 21, no. 5 (2011): 471-486.

[21]Sundaram, N, and Al-Aali Abdulrahman, “The exceptional performance strategies of Oman Airlines.” Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal 21, no. 5 (2011): 471-486.

[22]Cochennec, Y. “Gulf carriers and the art of one-upmanship.” Air & Cosmos, Aviation Magazine International 1890 (2003): 30-32.

[23]Cochennec, Y. “Gulf carriers and the art of one-upmanship.” Air & Cosmos, Aviation Magazine International 1890 (2003): 30-32.

[24]Cochennec, Y. “Gulf carriers and the art of one-upmanship.” Air & Cosmos, Aviation Magazine International 1890 (2003): 30-32.

[25]Cochennec, Y. “Gulf carriers and the art of one-upmanship.” Air & Cosmos, Aviation Magazine International 1890 (2003): 30-32.

[26]Cochennec, Y. “Gulf carriers and the art of one-upmanship.” Air & Cosmos, Aviation Magazine International 1890 (2003): 30-32.

[27]Greg, JB,Gittel, JH, Kochan, TA, and Nordenflycht Andrew, Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press, 2013.

[28]James, Romanow, “Oman Air: A Developing Airline For A Developing Middle Eastern Country.” Aviation International News(2003).

[29]James, Romanow, “Oman Air: A Developing Airline For A Developing Middle Eastern Country.” Aviation International News(2003).

[30]James, Romanow, “Oman Air: A Developing Airline For A Developing Middle Eastern Country.” Aviation International News(2003).

[31]Greg, JB,Gittel, JH, Kochan, TA, and Nordenflycht Andrew, Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press, 2013.

[32]Greg, JB,Gittel, JH, Kochan, TA, and Nordenflycht Andrew, Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press, 2013.

[33]Julia, Teigeler, “Arabic Airlines in the European Market. Strategies, Consequences and International Market Changes and Challenges.” (2015).

[34]Greg, JB,Gittel, JH, Kochan, TA, and Nordenflycht Andrew, Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press, 2013.

[35]Greg, JB,Gittel, JH, Kochan, TA, and Nordenflycht Andrew, Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press, 2013.

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