MUSCAT: The air cargo unit of Oman Air, the Sultanates national carrier, is embarked on devising competitive logistic service criteria to the tune of global standards. This comes after the refurbishment of the air cargo unit of Muscat International Airports Cargo Service Building. With an area of 22,000 square metres and an annual reception capacity of 350,000 tonnes of goods, the new facility will serve as a modern warehouse that will enhance the airports performance.

The new air cargo hub will accommodate 734 multi-level loading containers and 2,208 mobile chutes, besides goods transport vehicles fitted with hydraulic cranes. The facility also has gates that provide for the simultaneous loading of three air cargo planes and 25 outlets that accommodate 40 ft and 20 ft cargo vehicles, along with a 400-car parking lot and a 34 heavy vehicle parking space. This is in addition to a 2,500 square-metre livestock centre and 228 square-metre chambers for high-risk goods. Due to the fact that the airport often receives perishable materials, the whole building has already been provided with good air-conditioning systems and cooling stores to preserve perishable items.

The air cargo unit comes as part of the implementation of the Sultanates overall strategy for revamping the logistics sector, said Mohammed bin Ali al Musafir, Senior VP, Commercial Cargo, Oman Air. He noted that the government has been working to lay down the basic brick for the cargo sector, albeit by setting up a modern cargo building that serves as a wide faade for the service. The company has been liaising with the departments concerned to develop air and air cargo with a view to reaching a total volume of 500,000 tonnes by 2040, he added.

In a statement to Oman News Agency, Al Musafir pointed out that Oman Air plays a major role, making an ideal use of its fleet of 55 aircraft, noting that Middle East, Europe, Indian Ocean countries and Sri Lanka are the main air cargo destinations of Oman Air.
Market competition in 2016 indicates that cargo volumes increased by 30 per cent to 40 per cent, said Al Musafir, noting that ideal use of air cargo capacity in aircraft and an increase in flights and Oman Air destinations helped multiply revenues between 2016 and 2019.
As many as 48 agents represent Oman Air around the world, said Al Musafir, adding that Oman Air as the national carrier uses the services of some countries to maximise its global coverage.

He explained that Oman Air is bound by agreements with 80 airlines that provide such services, and that a study is under way to purchase air cargo planes that will serve alongside chartered air cargo planes.

Al Musafir stressed the significance of electronic trade which, he said, undergoes continuous development and it relies on goods of light sizes and weights being exported to consumers across the globe. The number of users of e-business witnesses a steady growth, said Al Musafir, adding that smart cargo is a system of operations serves as a platform for selling activities and is being increasingly used by agents at a global level. It is known by importers as the air compass. ONA

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