Route expansion drives Oman’s passenger increase

The A380 will be able to land at new terminal

Aircraft movements are up by more than 20 per cent and passenger numbers are recovering at Muscat International Airport, Oman.

The number of passengers travelling through the airport was 4,558,838 in 2009, a 14 per cent increase on 2008, which saw numbers drop by around 200,000 from 2007.

Of these 1,713,803 were actually visiting the country, four per cent up on the previous year, and the remainder were in transit.

An Oman Airport Management Company statement said: “The growth in passenger numbers is being driven by a number of factors including fleet and route expansion by the national carrier, Oman Air, the increase in capacity and frequency by existing carriers, the growth and development of tourism and the economic activity within Oman.”

Oman Air, Air India Express, Gulf Air, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Shaheen Air all increased their flights to the Omani capital during 2009.

The year also saw the opening of the new RO15-million ($39-million) terminal extension which consists of two floors with eight new boarding gates in an additional 17,000 sq m of floor space including retail and leisure areas.

The extension increased the airport’s passenger capacity by 3,000 travellers at any one time.

A proposed new terminal at Muscat International Airport is scheduled for completion by 2012 and will have the capacity to handle 12 million passengers annually. Further expansions planned in three subsequent phases will ultimately boost the airport’s capacity to 48 million passengers by 2050.

The project programme is to have the new control tower and second runway completed and operational by the end of 2010 and the passenger terminal and other buildings by the end of 2012.

The development is to feature a new passenger terminal building with 32 boarding air bridges, a second runway, control tower, cargo terminal to handle 200,000 tonnes of cargo annually and car-parking capacity for 6,000 vehicles.

The new terminal building will have a net floor area of 290,000 sq m.

The existing runway is also due for an upgrade and will be supplemented with the new runway able to handle the Airbus A380.