European freight specialist, Cargolux, is to introduce a new link between its Luxembourg base and the Indian city of Chennai from next month after formalising a cooperation agreement with Oman Air that will see more cargo transported via the country’s air and shipping ports. The new flight, via Muscat International Airport, will operate from April 15, 2015 and is likely to be the start of an expected rapid growth in the Sultanate.
The agreement to utilise Oman’s sea and air freight infrastructure will benefit the economy of the Sultanate of Oman by introducing faster and more reliable connections across the airlines worldwide network and a geographical location ideal for onward transit of materials.
Under the arrangement Oman Air will provide Cargolux with access to the belly capacity of its passenger fleet that fly to 11 destinations on the Indian continent as well as Eastern Africa, giving the Luxembourg airline the opportunity to feed consolidated freight to Oman from a number of larger markets.
It also plans to expand its own Oman flights during 2015 to several weekly services with onward connections to multiple Indian cities including, but not limited to, Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Additional connections to China, Europe, Africa and the United States are also planned.
Air cargo has had a challenging few years, and while 2014 saw the first significant boost in volumes since 2010, a trend expected to continue this year, revenues, were still down from the 2011 peak, and yields are falling for the fourth straight year.
Ahead of arriving in Kunming for Routes Asia, Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) attended the 9th edition of the IATA World Cargo Symposium that was held in Shanghai between March 10-12, 2015 to meet the leading and prominent airlines, forwarders and shippers in the air cargo industry.
Speaking to Routesonline in Kunming, Kimmo Ruotsalainen, commercial operations - head of sales and marketing, OAMC said: “Oman has a favourable geographical location connecting cargo flows e.g. from Asia to Europe, Africa and Middle-East and we are working closely with the air cargo industry stakeholders to promote activities at all of our airports: Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and Duqm.”
With 33 airline operators, freight volumes at Muscat International Airport totalled 122,189,942 tonnes in 2014 compared to 120,040,176 tonnes in 2013 up two per cent. Freight volumes in Salalah International Airport totalled 1,231,513 tonnes in 2014, down from 1,416,856 tonnes recorded during 2013.