A new era in Oman’s aviation sector

Decks have been cleared to usher in a new era of all-round development with the unveiling of one of the major milestones since the opening of Seeb (current airport) in 1973.
Old-timers in Muscat say it is all about the journey Oman has travelled since the days of the small airport that operated in Bait al Falaj until 1973.
On Sunday, Oman Airports released a video in multiple languages showing directions to reach the airport from different parts of the Sultanate.
Passengers have been urged to report three hours earlier for check-in, while those who intend to cancel visas will have to report four hours before their flight departure.
“There will be some surprises in store for the passengers, including promotions from Muscat Duty Free,” officials told the Observer.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), in a statement, said preparations have been completed for starting commercial operations from the new passenger terminal on March 20.
“A total of 45 operational readiness trials have been conducted with participation from 25,975 members of the public, besides 100 other exercises, including emergency trials involving more than 4,000 people,” said the statement.
The key stakeholders are Operational Readiness Team of Oman Airports Management Company, Royal Oman Police (ROP), Oman Air, SalamAir and the ground handling companies.
Oman Air’s WY153 flight to Zurich will be last flight departing from the current airport at 2.45 pm.
The first arrival flight at the new passenger terminal will be WY462 Oman Air coming from Iraqi city of Najaf at 5.30 pm.
All procedures at the new airport will be implemented according to the specifications approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to serve 20 million passengers per year in the first phase.
The new terminal will include 96 check-in counters, 29 passenger boarding bridges, ten bus boarding lounges, 87 immigration counters (31 for departures, 56 for arrivals) and a 90-room airport hotel.
The duty free and commercial areas have been expanded by ten times from what has been available at the current airport.
Apart from 20 self-service check-in kiosks, the airport will have parking to accommodate 8,000 cars at any given point of time.
Top officials told the Observer the priority will be to ensure smooth transfer of passengers from the current airport to the new one.
Already introduced in Salalah for the first time a few years ago, Muscat too will now offer direct boarding of the aircraft from the terminal.
The first phase of the project, inaugurated on December 14, saw the opening of the new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, the headquarters building for Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) and the runway.
With special emphasis on public transport, Mwasalat will launch two new routes from the airport — to Mabailah (IA) and Ruwi (IB). Promotional prices on these routes — from March 20 to June 20 — will be 500 baisa.
The routes will be served by buses specially designed for airport passengers, with special provisions for luggage and those with special needs.
Services will continue during all weekdays and official holidays.
The Mabailah route (IA) stops will be Al Khoudh — Al Hail, Muscat City Centre, Al Sahwa Tower, Old Airport and Muscat International Airport.
The Ruwi route (IB) stops will be Wadi Adei, Wattayah, Qurum, Sarooj, Al Khuwair, Ghubra — Azaiba and Muscat International Airport.
Metered taxis will be available with fares starting from RO 3.
Oman Aviation Services (OAS) operated the new air cargo terminal at and ‘received’ only the goods to be shipped.
The delivery of goods to customers will continue from the old cargo terminal until March 29.
The new air cargo building is one of the series of projects attached to the Muscat International Airport Development Project, which is expected to cope with the rapid growth of cargo traffic in the Sultanate.
The new cargo building is spread over 32,000 sq m with a capacity to handle 350,000 tonnes of cargo per year, which can be extended to 500,000 tonnes.
The building is equipped with advanced technologies to deal with all types of goods — general and special cargo to perishable products, live animals, and dangerous goods and materials.
The building is equipped with an automated cargo handling system that allows for smooth handling of cargo containers and pallets.
It provides two handling cranes with advanced technology for the orderly transport and storage
of goods, which will result in efficient handling and faster delivery of goods, thus increasing efficiency and productivity.
Since a large part of import and export goods can be damaged
due to temperature, such as fruits, vegetables, frozen meat and pharmaceutical products, the building is fully air-conditioned with special refrigerators.
The new 2,500-sqm facility has been developed to accommodate all kinds of livestock.