Plans to open Muscat International Airport soon
September 13, 2015 | 9:19 PM
by Times News Service

Muscat: Work at the Muscat International Airport is progressing well and the authorities are hoping to “open it early next year.”

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the launching ceremony for new non-stop flights between Kuwait and Muscat, a senior official of the Director General of Civil Aviation Regulations, Anwar bin Abdullah Al Raisi, said that the runway is open and so are all operational facilities. “Only the terminal building is left to be opened which, too, will happen soon,” he said.

He also said that the deadline is approaching soon. “We are near our deadline but initially, it was a big challenge,” he said.

Admitting that there has been a delay, he said, “Yes, there is some delay as we were constructing five airports at the same time. We are now done with the Salalah International Airport and are focusing on the Muscat International Airport currently so that we can complete it very soon. It is towards this purpose that we are working round the clock,” he said.

On the illegal expatriates caught working at the Muscat airport, the official said that the work has been affected slightly because of this.

“But then we brought workers from Salalah to replace them to finish the work,” he said.

More than 1,000 expatriate employees were arrested in May 2015 when they were found working illegally at the new terminal being built at the Muscat International Airport project.

He also said the new airport terminal will have signboards in regional languages. “We are talking with the operator OAMC to ensure that we have sign boards in regional languages also,” he said.

Regarding the Sohar airport, the official said that many airlines, including Qatar Airways and Indian carriers, have shown a keen interest in starting new flights as the population they cater to is huge. “But nothing has been finalized so far,” he asserted.

Oman also wants to fly to more places in India and that is one of the reasons they want the existing bilateral agreements to be revised.

Paul Gregorowitsch, the chief executive officer of Oman Air, has always maintained that Oman Air would like to operate more flights to India but the Sultanate is “highly restricted” by the bilateral agreements between India and Oman.

“We want to fly to more places in India and have hence requested that the existing bilateral agreements be revised. We have been promised another meeting in Muscat in October with the Indian authorities so that we can revise our seat sharing agreement as we are looking at increasing the number of seats to around 9,000 to 10,000 for India,” he summed up, adding that he prefers an “open sky policy.”

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news