New Muscat airport opens on March 20

The wait is finally over. The commercial operations from the new passenger terminal at the Muscat International Airport will commence on March 20. In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) said all inbound and outbound flights will be transferred from the current airport to the new airport as of that day. Dr Mohammed bin Nasser al Zaabi, CEO, Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), indicated last week that the announcement is expected in the coming days. The ministry has called on all stakeholders to make necessary arrangements to ensure the smooth transition of operations and passenger traffic at the new airport.

Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, said the ministry is ready to operate the new terminal building after final confirmation of readiness of all systems through the tests conducted until now. “The new Muscat International Airport has been an area of world attention and is one of the modern state monuments that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos wished for the Sultanate. It is also an important extension of the national economy in light of the remarkable growth witnessed in the civil aviation sector and other sectors,” the minister said in a statement.

A total of 32 out of the 43 operational experiences of more than ten facilities/systems and the simulation of outbound and inbound trips were conducted in cooperation between readiness teams of Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC), Royal Oman Police (ROP), Oman Air and ground handling companies. A total of 6,200 volunteers, including citizens and residents, participated in these trials. The trial operations were strictly monitored to iron out issues that may crop up during the opening of the airport, including the movement of passengers, immigration procedures, baggage handling and technical inspections. A few trials will continue for a while even after the commencement of commercial operations.

Rated to be one of the largest largest infrastructure projects in Oman, the new passenger terminal has the capacity to handle 20 million passengers annually. The total cost of the project is estimated at RO 1.7 billion. The new terminal has 96 check-in counters, 29 passenger boarding bridges, 10 bus boarding lounges, 87 immigration counters (31 for departures, 56 for arrivals) and a 90-room airport hotel. Apart from 20 self-service check-in kiosks, it will have parking facility that can accommodate 8,000 cars at any point of time. Apart from the airport taxi services from Mwasalat, the new airport will have public bus transport facility. The company plans to have two new routes connecting the airport to Ruwi and Muscat airport up to Burj al Sahwa.

Vinod Nair