Intake of Omani cadets at highest level, supporting Vision 2040 workforce nationalization and youth empowerment objectives.
Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has ramped up pilot training to meet growing demand for passenger and cargo flights, and to support its growth strategy for post-pandemic travel. Oman recently reopened to vaccinated travellers and expects a sharp increase in demand for flights from Omani citizens and residents of Oman eager to travel again, expats returning to work in the Sultanate, as well as international tourists in search of Oman’s celebrated appeal as a must-see destination in the Middle East.
At the heart of the airline’s push to strengthen its pilot base is a renewed focus on Omani recruitment and training. 101 Omani nationals are currently enrolled in Oman Air’s Cadet Pilot Training Program: 30 have recently started technical language courses at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat; 26 have completed their technical language courses and will soon start ground school; 14 will fly to the USA to complete their flight training; and 31 are currently undergoing flight training in Spain.
An additional 40 licenced Omani pilots are enrolled as Ab-initio second officers as part of narowbody type rating at the airline’s headquarters in Muscat—8 of whom are now flying as First Officers. This reaffirms Oman Air’s commitment to the country’s broader Vision 2040 strategy which envisions and encourages nationalization of the workforce and more opportunities for Omani youth in private and government sectors.
“With the easing of travel restrictions for Oman announced recently, enquiries to our call centre have surged and we anticipate robust demand for travel in the foreseeable short term,” said Captain Nasser Al Salmi, Chief Operating Officer, Oman Air. “To support what we then expect will be a gradual ascent to pre-pandemic levels in the coming years, our focus now from an operational standpoint is on route optimization and pilot training, and making sure that Oman Air is sufficiently staffed to meet our goals for growth and success. With 165 Omani nationals enrolled in our various specialized pilot training programs, we are confident that our pilot pool will strengthen operating capabilities for many years to come.”
By the end of 2021, Oman Air will have welcomed 24 Omani pilots previously flying for other airlines—20 have already joined the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet, and the remaining 4 will join before year end. Captain Moosa Al Shidhani, Oman Air Senior Vice President of Flight Operations, stated that the airline continues to select Omani pilots in line with the country’s Vision 2040 objectives to increase the share of Omanis in the workforce. “As a national airline and country brand ambassador around the world, Oman Air is committed to hiring Omani pilots as a priority, and we are extremely proud of our track record—currently, 426 Omani pilots represent 96 percent of our total pilots.”