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New airport set for take-off


Sunday’s static flight trial at the Muscat International Airport was the second of these experiments in less than a month.

The trial was part of the 32nd demonstration tour of Airbus A350-1000 that started from the new passenger terminal. It was for the first time an A350-type aircraft was arriving in Muscat.

Dr Mohammed bin Nasser al Zaabi, CEO, Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), said it is important that Muscat is home to such demonstration tours because they showcase the readiness of the new airport to deal with the new-generation aircraft.

On December 23, the first flight (WY 2001), B787-8 left from the new passenger terminal in the morning with a number of officials, aviation specialists and media representatives.

The trial simulated the actual operation of the airport as it brought into use all systems and devices, including the check-in counters, immigration, baggage collection and aerobridges.

Speaking to the Observer, Francois Obe, A350-XWB, marketing director, customer affairs, said the operating cost of this aircraft is 25 per cent better than the competing aircraft. From Oman, one can reach almost any part of the world and even Latin America with the ULR version.”

Obe said the fuel consumption is because of the light-weight materials used in its manufacture. We are looking for a relationship with Oman Air. We believe it is a good fit for Oman Air as it is cheaper to operate.”

It was revealed that through the trials, the new airport has handled 55,000 bags for over 6,000 volunteers. More than 500 landing and departing flights have been simulated, the Oman Airport Management Company revealed on Sunday.

For members of the public, the airport trials touched every aspect of airline travel, including carrying baggage, depositing them at the airport, clearing immigration and security counters and using the aerobridges to board or enter the aircraft.

“This airport can be counted among the best once it starts operations. I have been waiting for an announcement about its opening for years now,” said Kumar, a top executive of a leading corporate in Oman.

“Certainly, we have to walk a bit longer now to reach the gates at both ends, but that is natural as the airport gets bigger and bigger. With facilities such as food courts, launches and duty-free stores, I hope passengers won’t mind the time they get to spend at the airport,” a senior official of Oman Airport Management Company (OAMC) said.

A large number of outbound passengers from Muscat, especially the elderly, are waiting to use the aerobridges for the first time. “It will make a big difference as negotiating the bus and ladders are difficult with wheelchairs,” said Saif Balushi, whose relative had to be taken abroad for medical treatment.

Vinod Nair

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