Lakshmi Kothaneth –
The clouds beneath float gleefully as we fly over them to reach a destination looked upon as a future city of development: Duqm.
The Duqm Airport is officially inaugurated. Landing at the new airport brought back memories of arriving at the Salalah Airport as a child when the airport was very simple. Childhood memories rush back at every arrival at the airport during the Khareef.
In the case of Duqm Airport, the facility is sophisticated. Though it might be considered small, it has all the facilities. The flight that carried the guests was Oman Air’s Dreamliner.
There are passengers other than the invited guests to the opening ceremony. There is so much going on there, but the reality is everyone working in Duqm are the pioneers.
It is amazing how cities come into being. Towns that surround educational institutions are an indication of how demand brings in supply. Soon, there are facilities and essentials filling up and that had been the experience in Al Khoudh, Al Hail and Bausher. None of these areas are what used to be in the 90s.
One can imagine what is to be expected in Duqm, where the Port of Duqm has already taken shape and continues to fulfil its plans while other industries are executing their projects.
One thing is for sure. With so many industries, Duqm would be one place to gain work experience for students of higher education. Would specialised colleges want to be there?
With the airport facilities, the city is just an hour away compared with the six hours or so drive in the past. The daily flights, except for Fridays, seems to be aimed at work-oriented passengers.
Although at present, only Oman Air flies to the city of Wusta Governorate, there are chartered flights arriving from other countries already. The hope is soon there would be other airlines arriving directly in Duqm.
That is not all. There is hope that more cargo flights would be arriving in Duqm, which could complement the Port of Duqm.
The land is vast and the population growing. What brought the focus to Duqm is its strategic location, which has brought in a new dimension to the sea route for trade. Now, the air route as well.
Now, passengers need not be just for exploring business and investment because the coastline of Duqm could inspire original dream projects as it is fresh land desirable for the hospitality industry with a focus on ocean because of its well-connected sea and air routes.
Not to forget the unique stone garden created by none other than nature. Geology plays a key role and could be one of the major tourism attractions. Traditionally, the local community explored fisheries. Another potential could be advancement of this industry as well.
Most importantly, the city, once in full swing, could be a place for job opportunities and entrepreneurship.
So here is to Duqm, the city that has promising ventures and projects in both government and private sectors.
Duqm, where the country’s third major airport has been established, has just seen an important chapter in Oman aviation history.
The water salute, the cultural programme, the design of the airport all carry a theme — and that is Oman. One more promise has been fulfilled. Now it is for others to look at the opportunities as the city comes into being, and contributes at the same time.