Muscat: Flights to and from Muscat International Airport experienced an 8.9 per cent year-on-year growth according to new figures released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).
Air traffic numbers rose to 102,148 in 2017, from 93,822 that was recorded in 2016. The number of passengers travelling through the capital's air hub grew by 1,815,982, with 12,824,294 passengers in transit, arrivals and departures recorded for the year 2017, representing a 16.5 per cent year-on-year growth. Domestic flights at Muscat International Airport also rose by 27.4 per cent during 2017, with 12,110 flights recorded during the year, which is a rise from 9,504 in 2016.
The rise in air traffic comes as the Sultanate prepares to inaugurate the airport's new terminal, with a spacious and state-of-the-art structure scheduled to open on March 20, 2018. All incoming and outgoing flights will simultaneously be transferred from the current terminal to the new one.
The revamped Muscat International Airport has a capacity to handle more than 12 million passengers a year and an additional 48 million passengers after the completion of a number of four-phase construction projects. The first stage covered 580,000 square metres and features 86 check-in counters, 10 baggage claim belts, 40 gates for both departure and arrival, 29 lounges, 29 aircraft stands with jet-bridges as well as a new control tower. The new terminal will also have the capacity to handle large aircrafts such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. The existing terminal will be used for low-cost carrier operations.