Now, the sky’s the limit for Oman aviation
March 20, 2018 | 10:41 PM
by Times News Service
Muscat International Airport's new passenger terminal became operational on Tuesday. Photo-Shabin E

Muscat: Muscat’s new state-of-the-art international airport is operational.

The first flight, from New Delhi in India, touched down at the new airport shortly after 5.30pm, marking an historic day for the Sultanate.

The new airport rose steadily from the sand by the side of Sultan Qaboos Highway, and those who drove past the massive project could not help but feel a surge of pride: this was, after all, Oman’s new airport terminal, one that represents the hopes and dreams of the nation.

That positivity rippled like waves across the new airport terminal on Tuesday.

Times of Oman was present for opening day, and patriotic Omani music was piped through this state of the art airport’s speakers, which made all in attendance stand a few inches taller.

For Chris and Sophie, taking off from the new airport was a unique experience.

“We landed in Oman at the old airport last Saturday,” they told Times of Oman outside one of the airport’s many departure counters. “We’re flying to Dubai today and there is just such a difference between the two. The new airport really is stunning, and we’re so proud to be not just one of the first passengers to be flying from the new airport, but one of the first to be flying on opening day. We’ve heard many good things about it, and wish the people of Oman the very best for their future endeavours.”

From the graceful fronds of the palm trees that provide the new airport with some very pleasant and much needed greenery, to the intricate wooden panelling that is reminiscent of traditional Omani houses, and even the simple falaj-like fountain in front, coupled with an elegantly curving footbridge, the Sultanate’s airport will take Oman to new heights, without forgetting its past.

“We’ve been waiting for this day for over a year,” exclaimed a senior flight officer from Oman Air, the country’s national carrier, who was enjoying the freshest of food at the airport’s new health food restaurant in its departures terminal.

A couple of shops over, German tourists were busy snapping up souvenirs from the handicrafts store, which featured a plethora of goods that were innately Omani, from succulent dates grown on the nation’s farms to fragrant nuggets of Dhofari frankincense, worth its weight in gold.

“The Omani people we have met are just so friendly,” said Dorothy, one of the two Germans. “We had a bit of trouble navigating our way here, but all the people at the airport are so kind. I want to thank the lady at the counter, as well. She was so sweet and patient with us.”

As they waited for their counter to open, Stefan Ruyter, who hails from Belgium, was explaining to his son, Nigel, the details of the intricate roof atop the airport.

“I am an architect, myself, so I know it would not have been easy to build this,” he told Times

of Oman.

“This seems to be a very ambitious project and I want to congratulate the Omani government.”

Selfies were very much the order of the day. “Look around - everybody is excited, not because this is a new building, but because of what it means,” said Jordanian Amjad Jaser, who was flying to Riyadh, having just posed for a selfie with his friend. “You can see that this airport means a lot to people here, and they are so proud because of it.”

United by the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman’s new airport has injected Oman’s citizens and residents with renewed vigour, and if day one is anything to go by, the Sultanate’s aviation sector is set to soar to new heights.

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