#ReadersResponse: While people look forward to Oman’s new airport, many say they will miss the charm of the old one, which closed its doors at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon. Times of Oman was on hand to document the opening of the new airport, and spoke to many passengers who had flown in.
“We have been hearing of the opening of the airport for a while and of course, we are all excited to see it, but the old airport did have its charm,” said Haitham Al Lawati, who was one of the first to emerge from the terminal.
“I used to get so excited to board a plane, because when I was younger, you were very lucky if you got to travel by flight and that was a special occasion for us. It’s those small moments that I miss and associate with the old Seeb airport because they formed a significant part of my years growing up.”
Sunita Balakrishnan, a long-term resident of Oman, said: “Of course, the new airport is very modern and fancy, but this is a testament to how far Oman has come.
“When I first came here more than 16 years ago, I still remember the buses that used to take us to the terminal and the line at immigration, and we have grown up with those memories.
“The old airport reminds us of a simpler time and that is why it will never lose its charm.”
The same sentiment was echoed by passengers Times of Oman met at the departure lounges, as they queued up in front of the check-in counters.
“This new airport is so fancy!” said Sophia Benson, a British expat who often travels to Oman on work from Dubai. “It reminds me in many ways of the Dubai International Airport, but to me, the old airport will always be a reminder of how Oman is.
“It is a simple and humble place that does not try to show off and that is what a lot of expats love about this country,” she added.
Said Al Salti, who was excited to be flying on holiday to Jordan, added: “I think for all of us Omanis, and all the expats who live here, the new airport is indeed impressive, but it will take some getting used to.
“There will be a point, maybe when we are sitting in the departure lounge of the new airport, we will remember our time at the old airport and we will then smile, because we will remember how far we have come, but we will also wish for what our life was at that time.”
Oman Airports Management Company ensured everyone who took off from the new Muscat International Airport on Tuesday would fondly remember the memory, with a photo booth set up for people to take pictures of themselves at the new airport.
OAMC staff were handing out flowers and chocolates to all departing passengers.
Ghadeer Al Hilali, one of the airport staff who was handing out flowers, said: “I have been giving roses and chocolates to all departing passengers for the last 30 minutes.
“I’ve given out possibly over 200, and the response from people has been great. A lot of people are talking about how great the airport looks, and congratulating us on this endeavour.”