Muscat International Airport’s new terminal will be operational by the end of 2017, according to Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications.

The news was welcomed by Oman Air Chief Executive Officer Paul Gregorowitsch, who said the national carrier’s plans for future growth are tied to the airport opening.

“The new airport is 96 per cent complete and we expect to operate the terminal by the end of this year,” said Al Futaisi.

François Bouteiller, chief executive officer (CEO) of SalamAir also welcomed the news: “It is always welcome to hear improvements at the airport. Whether it is the ramp or whether it is the second runway activation or whether it is the new terminal building.

“It is the first impression passengers have when they arrive into the country,” he said.

Dr. Mohammad Al Zaabi, CEO of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) said that most airport ground work is complete and will be fully complete in the next few months.

“The tower, fuel ramp and other ground work is nearing full completion. At the moment operational tests are being conducted to ensure efficiency,” said Al Zaabi.

“As for the airport, as His Excellency said, it is 96 per cent complete. Pretty soon everyone will experience a new kind of joy, whether they are departing, arriving or there to pick their loved ones up,” added Al Zaabi.

Oman Air CEO Gregorowitsch, welcomed the news and added that Oman Air’s growth is linked to the new airport.

“Every day the new terminal will be opened earlier is welcomed. Although in great cooperation with OAMC, we have managed the growth in the existing passenger terminal. A larger concern is the availability of only one runway,” said Gregorowitsch.

“Oman Air is not in favour of a two terminal concept.

“Oman is blessed with a fantastic new passenger terminal to be opened, making a one terminal concept a huge advantage compared to airports with several terminals.

“Exploiting two terminals is also more costly,” he explained.

Riyaz Kuttery, Chief Operating Officer of Mezoon Travel said: “Tourists in Oman continue to grow each year. Unfortunately, the current airport may not be able to accommodate the increase over time and therein lies the importance of this new airport.”

The new terminal will be able to handle 12 million passengers per year, with plans to increase the annual passenger load to 48 million passengers per year, to be carried out in a series of phased construction projects.

It will have 118 check-in counters for international and domestic flights, along with 82 immigration counters.

There will also be areas set aside for duty free purchases, retail stores, restaurants and cafés. Passengers will be able to take advantage of 40 gates for both departing and arriving flights, along with 29 waiting lounges.

16 additional waiting lounges have been built for those passengers being transported to aircraft by bus. Passengers will also experience faster boarding of aircraft, as air bridges leading to the aircraft from the gates splits into two, with one leading to first and business class, while the other is for the use of economy passengers, to assure boarding and disembarking is fast and efficient.

There are to be 10 belts in the baggage claim area, with eight of them for international flights and two for domestic passengers.

While waiting for friends or family members, the new arrival area will allow public access to restaurants, cafés and retail stores, as well as offer a top-down view of passengers claiming their bags.

The 68,000 square metre five-level parking area in the north of the airport will hold 1,100 vehicles, while another 67,000 square meter parking area will accommodate some 1,200 vehicles.

Wasim Zaidi, General Manager – Gulf Sales, Jet Airways, said: “The new infrastructure will boost airport capacity and will grow passenger numbers and more importantly, it will provide superior service to guests, coupled with speed and efficiency. “

He also said: “We are truly excited at the prospect of an enhanced quality experience at Muscat.”

SOURCETimes Of Oman