Home Comment Editorial All set for takeoff

All set for takeoff

With more than 96 per cent of the work on the new $1.8 billion Muscat International Airport already complete, and the success of the recent simulative test,  the government looks all set to commission the new airport with all its attendant facilities by the end of this year.  This speaks highly of the government’s commitment to deliver on its promises without falling back in the least bit and the competence as well to see that the highest standards equal to the best in the world are maintained at all cost. For the present, fine-tuning exercises are in progress to ensure that everything goes smoothly when they say the word “go”. Recently a successful dry run or a simulative travel test was carried out with 80 persons to check the readiness of passenger terminals and the technical systems. Once the new airport is commissioned and becomes fully operational it will give a tremendous boost to passenger volumes both incoming and outgoing and more revenue for the exchequer as well as enhance the Sultanate’s tourism profile.

The new airport is expected to have a capacity to handle more than 12 million passengers every year and reach 48 million passengers once some four-phased construction projects have been completed. The first stage will cover 580,000 sqm and will feature 86 check-in counters, 10 baggage claim belts, 40 gates for departure and arrival, 29 waiting lounges, 29 aircraft stands with jet-bridges as well as a new control tower. The new terminal will be able to handle large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. Once the new terminal is complete and becomes fully operational, the existing terminal will be used for low-cost carrier operations.

Passenger volume at the Muscat International Airport soared 16.6 per cent in 2016, driving numbers up to more than 12.03 million from 10.31 million in 2015, according to the latest data released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). Compared to 2015, the number of international flights at the airport also went up by 11.6 per cent to 93,822 (46,913 landings and 46,909 take-offs).There has been an increase of 17.3 per cent in the number of international passengers at more than 11 million, comprising over 5.54 million arrivals, 5.43 million departures and 27,638 transit passengers A technical committee member of the management of airport projects Eng. Salim Bin Saad Al Harbi has said the main buildings for the operation of the airport, including the terminal, maintenance gates, aviation workshops, guard rooms and entrances and exits, besides the basic amenities like electricity, water and sanitation services, were in the final stages. Side by side, the government is also working on other aviation related projects. Another passenger terminal at Duqm Airport is also 50 per cent complete. Tenders had been analysed for an airport at Musandam. Preliminary studies are being conducted at sites of Al Haraf, Bukha, Lima and Khasab airport for four months. A study is underway to see if the existing terminal can be used for low cost carriers and the new terminal for full-service carriers. Construction work and integration of IT systems at the new terminal were still on.