Muscat: Some early morning flights to and from Muscat International Airport have been rescheduled to make way for “preventative” runway maintenance, officials have announced.
Passengers flying in or out of the capital early mornings on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays could face rescheduled flights as the runway at Muscat International Airport closes for one hour between 5am and 6am for maintenance work.
Officials have said the work will be carried out between now and March next year, and the disruption will be kept to a minimum.
The work started on October 29. Dubai based Emirates airline confirmed it has stopped operating its flight between Dubai and Muscat at that time for the duration of the work.
Up to September this year, Muscat International Airport handled over 10million passengers. In a notice to industry partners, Dubai based Emirates said: “Please be informed that due to the runway maintenance work at Muscat Airport, EK866/EK867 will not be operating on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday from October 29, 2017 to March 25, 2018.
Rest of the days; the flight will continue to operate as per schedule. Kindly, check your queues for flight disruptions and inform passengers accordingly, to avoid inconvenience.”
Speaking about the closure, David Wilson, Chief Operations Officer at Oman Airports Management Company and the acting general manager at Muscat International Airport, said: “This is planned and preventative maintenance which is common at airports across the world to ensure the runway meets the necessary safety levels and is maintained to a high standard.
“The closure period was agreed by the airport community and is an optimal time as there are no flight arrival or departures planned between these hours.”
Citing this as WIP (Work in Progress) with men and equipment on the runway, the OAMC circular said that the last start-up for departures of the flights will be at 4.40am during these days and the runway will be shut between 5am and 6am on these days of the week.
Travel agents said that they are extending full cooperation to passengers, whilst working hard to minimise any resulting disruption for passengers.“On the limited number of occasions when disruption is inevitable, we are making every effort to contact passengers in advance, using the details they provide during the booking process, and change the timings of the flights,” a leading travel agent said.
Passengers are advised to contact agents if they are booked on flights between these times.
“Early morning flights on weekdays are very essential, so I would request the concerned authorities to carry out the maintenance activities on the runway as soon as possible,” said Krishna Kumar, who regularly travels to neighbouring countries on business trips in the mornings.
Residents in Oman are eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Muscat International Airport, which Ministry of Transport officials say will open soon.