By Shane McGinley
Dutch national Paul Gregorowitsch previously worked at Air Berlin and Air France-KLM
Former Air France-KLM senior executive Paul Gregorowitsch has been appointed the new chief executive officer of state-backed carrier Oman Air.
Oman Air’s Chairman, His Excellency Darwish bin Ismail bin Ali Al Balushi, hailed it as the start of a new chapter in the development of the sultanate’s flag carrier.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of Oman Air, I would like to welcome Paul Gregorowitsch to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Mr Gregorowitsch has vast experience in international airline management and his commercial expertise will be of immense benefit to Oman Air during its current phase, as well as in its next phase, where the company will experience expansion and evolution in terms of the strength of its fleet, the destinations it flies to, its operational network and its commercial activities,” the chairman said.
Gregorowitsch, a citizen of the Netherlands, joins Oman Air from Air Berlin, where he sat on its Management Board since 2011.
He has also CEO for four years of Amsterdam-based passenger and cargo airline Martinair Holland NV, where he implemented successful restructuring measures to bring the company back into profit in record time.
Gregorowitsch has also held a series of international management positions within Air France-KLM, rising to Executive Vice President Commercial.
Commenting on his appointment, Gregorowitsch said: “I am delighted to be taking up this vital and exciting role as Chief Executive Officer of Oman Air. I am joining the airline at a critical time in its development and I look forward to making a significant contribution to its prosperity and growth, as well as to Oman’s travel and tourism industry.”
He will work with the Board of Directors and airline staff to oversee Oman Air’s second major phase of expansion, which will start later this year with the arrival of the first of 20 aircraft the carrier currently has on order. These include three Airbus A330s, six Boeing B787 Dreamliners and 11 Boeing B737s, which will enable Oman Air to expand its network and increase frequencies on existing routes.
Oman Air’s current fleet strength stands at 30, comprising seven Airbus A330s, 17 Boeing B737s, four Embraer E175s and two ATR 42s, whilst its network covers 43 destinations across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa.
In March, Oman Air announced that it was increasing its share capital by OR200 million ($519 million) as it sought to reverse losses of OR113 million in 2013.
The airline reported increases in revenues and passenger numbers, supported by growth in seat capacity, cargo operations and the number of passengers carried last year.
The airline said in a statement that although losses rose by 16 percent last year it was as a result of investment in new aircraft.
Oman Air intends to spin off its business units such as ground handling, cargo handling, and duty free as "separate legal entities which will enhance efficiencies and effectiveness".
"Although Oman Air 's loss increased in 2013 by 16 percent to OR113.3 million, the company's direct and indirect contribution to the Omani economy over the same period was, according to studies we have commissioned, as much as OR400 million, which more than offsets Oman Air's financial debt to the nation," the chairman said in March.
A statement said revenues increased in 2013 by 10 percent to OR381.7 million while passenger numbers rose by 13 percent to almost five million.
Capacity increased to 14.9 billion available seat kilometres while cargo handling increased by 7 percent to 119,785 tonnes.