Muscat fastest growing airport in region

Muscat, Oct 28 – Muscat International Airport continues to be among the fastest growing in the region even as the latest IATA update predicts the Middle East aviation sector to grow strongly at 5 per cent with extra 322 million passengers a year by 2036. The total market size will be 517 million passengers. Globally, IATA expects 7.8 billion air passengers in 2036, a near double of the four billion air travelers expected to fly this year.
The IATA prediction is based on a 3.6 per cent average Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) noted in its latest update to the 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast.
As per the figures released by the Oman Airport Management Committee (OAMC)
last week, for the first nine months of this year, 10, 524,459 passengers used Muscat Airport, an increase of 16.9 per cent from 9,005, 906 passengers for the same period in 2016.
The cargo movement went up by 28.5 per cent to 147,754,802 tonnes from 114,988,298 tonnes in 2016, while the flights went up by
11.8 per cent to 85,651 from 76,637 in 2016.
The New Muscat Airport will be able to handle around 20 million passengers annually.
“The easing of rules for tourist visas and the introduction of electronic applications will naturally boost the aviation sector as most tourists will use the airports, especially Muscat airport,” according to tour and travel company officials.
“The visa rules will start showing desired results from this tourism season as it will go along with a strong campaign,” said a senior official at one of the regional airlines in Oman.
The fact is also that the GCC’s busiest airport, Dubai, recorded around 1.7 per cent increase in passenger traffic of 7.22 million compared with 7.09 million travellers in the same month a year ago. As per the earlier IATA estimates, passenger volume in Oman is estimated to grow to around 24 million by 2034 from the current figures.
Starting from late June this year till the end of September, around 23,600 passengers have used Suhar airport, which also saw 412 flights.
SalamAir, Qatar Airways and Air Arabia are currently operating services from Suhar.
In the first nine months of 2017, around 25,100 passengers used Duqm Airport, an increase of 39.3 per cent from 18,009 passengers in 2016 for the same period.
Similarly, Salalah Airport was used by 1,161,080 passengers, up 24.5 per cent from 932,938 passengers for the same period in 2016.
The number of flights went up by 41.5 per cent to 11, 172 from 7, 897. The cargo and mail movement went up by 13.2 per cent to 1,168,590 tonnes to 1,032,200 tonnes for the same period in 2016.

Vinod Nair