Oman’s ambitious Muscat International Airport terminal project, which aims to cater to 12 million passengers annually when it commences operations, is more than 90 per cent complete and passengers could be using the new airport as early as mid-2017.
Speaking to local media during a recent visit to the new airport’s site, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim al Futaisi, the Minister of Transport and Communications, was quoted as saying that both the passenger terminal building and the structure would be ready by the end of this year, following which the Ministry and the operating companies – Oman Airport Management Company (OAMC), Royal Oman Police (ROP) and Oman Air –would receive the project from the contractors.
As per international standards, trial runs and other training processes could take up to six months, he added.
Dr Mohammad al Zaabi, the chief executive of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation, said: “We can’t jump the gun and say exactly when the airport will be operational because it is a huge project packed with modern technology, which needs training and familiarisation which takes time”.
The new state-of-the-art airport will span 580,000 square metres over five floors and can accommodate a maximum of 18 million passengers.
The new airport has also been built to accommodate heavy aircraft, such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380. The airport’s new four-kilometre long and 75-metre wide runway opened in 2014.
The complex includes three piers with eight to 10 gate lounges in each, which will be connected to passenger boarding bridges. There will also be 82 ROP check-in counters, 118 airline check-in counters, a number of e-gates, 40 aerobridges and 29 boarding gates.
According to Dr al Futaisi, the three regional airport projects in Sohar, Duqm and Ras al Hadd are also on track.
He added that the new low-cost airline project based in Oman was expected to begin operations sometime this later year, and that several other tenders had been floated by OAMC for a second operator for ground handling and