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Mon 21 Mar 2016 09:03 AM

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Oman Air narrows losses, needs less government support

Flag-carrier’s losses fall by 21% to $233m, revenues up by 14% to $1.2bn

Oman Air narrows losses, needs less government support

State carrier Oman Air's losses narrowed last year and it required less financial support from the government as the airline boosted its capacity, chairman Darwish Al Balushi said on Sunday.

The fate of the carrier, which has been loss-making for years, is important to Oman's economy as the government tries to repair state finances damaged by low oil prices while diversifying the economy into non-oil sectors such as tourism.

Oman Air's losses narrowed 21 percent in 2015 to 86 million rials ($233 million), while its revenues expanded 14 percent to 466 million rials as it took delivery of nine new aircraft and increased its flight schedule.

This allowed the airline to reduce the support it received from the government to 54 million rials last year, Balushi said without giving a figure for support in 2014.

He said the airline would request a further reduction in support this year, and was on track to break even on an operating basis by the end of 2017.

Oman Air has a fleet of 41 planes and plans to expand this to 70 by 2020, according to its website. Last October, the government approved a restructuring of the airline that created subsidiaries and ventures to handle some businesses.

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