Times of Oman
Date set for first test flight at new Muscat airport
December 6, 2017 | 11:50 AM
by Syed Haitham Hasan/[email protected]
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
 
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Muscat: The first test flight will take off from the new Muscat International Airport (MIA) on December 23, Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, has announced.

“The first test flight will take off from the Muscat International Airport on December 23.

Based on the results and experiences with the public trials that begin today, we will announce the opening of the airport,” said Dr. Futaisi at the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Exchange forum, which started in Muscat yesterday with the participation of more than 1,500 aviation experts from across the world.


Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday. -ONA



The event started with a welcome speech by Aiman bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC), who highlighted the importance of such forums in enhancing the levels of cooperation to meet the challenges in the civil aviation sector while working together to raise the safety and security standards. "The numbers of passengers at airports are expected to reach 17m by the end of 2017, equivalent to four times Oman’s population size,” he revealed.

He also stressed the positive performance of the Sultanate’s airports in Muscat, Salalah, Duqm and Sohar.

Data released by OAMC showed that the passenger traffic had doubled in the past seven years to 12 million at the Muscat international Airport.

The Salalah airport grew by more than 160 per cent to reach 1.6 million, while Duqm and Sohar airports registered significant traffic since their opening this year.

OAMC aims to put Oman’s airport among the top 20 airports in the world by 2020, according to its five-year strategy, in which it aims to perfect and grow its operations in the next couple of years. Public trials for the Muscat International Airport have begun yesterday and is expected to see the participation of some 17,000 people.


Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday. -ONA



Spread across an area of 335,000 square metres, the new airport will have an increased capacity to handle more than 20 million passengers a year while delivering world class facilities to travellers, including 6,000 square metres of duty-free shopping, 8,000 parking slots and 96 check-in counters.

The speakers were giving a speech at the ACI exchange 2017 event, which is being held at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, bringing in experts from across sectors in the aviation and airport management companies. The event also saw the Omani airports of Salalah and Muscat receive the Airport Carbon Accredited certification of Level 1 and Level 2, respectively.

The Level 1 certification refers to mapping of the carbon footprint, and Level 2 is about managing and reducing the footprint.

"Technology will be an essential part of airport transformations across the world, as nearly 50 per cent of the travellers across the world by 2020 will be millennials, who are tech-savvy and will require optimisation of time through technology, observed the speakers.

The expansion of the new airport in Oman will see self-service check-in counters, mobile check-in and self-service bag drop, as well as provide options to book any service through the phone. Technology is going to drive more change in the future as we move towards what we call the fourth industrial revolution. We will see air planes become digital retailers, new advert platforms coming up and people spending lesser time at airports.

"We need to be ready to change and figure out how to maximise profits even with the growing influence of technology,” remarked Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI Europe.

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