by ANTARA BOSE
If there is something the beautiful country of Oman prides itself on, it is hospitality; and that begins right from the airport.
Awarded as the Middle East’s Leading Airport in 2019 by the World Travel Awards, the Muscat International Airport is a true representation of the country’s warm hospitality, beautiful landscapes, and its traditions. The Omani-themed architecture is a fascinating amalgamation of modern designs infused with elements that are authentically Omani. A state-of-the-art airport, it stands on par with leading airports around the world and has received a four-star rating by Skytrax for its departure, arrival and transfer experience, based on an evaluation of the airport facilities, terminal comfort and cleanliness, shopping, food & beverages, staff service, and security and immigration. Equipped with the latest technology, the airport offers an exceptional passenger experience through well-organized operations, cooperative ground staff, and most importantly, the heart to be of service.
The new Muscat International Airport opened its doors in early 2018, and within a month bagged the award for the Best New Middle East Tourism Development Project and subsequently won the prestigious title of the World’s Leading New Airport in 2018 at the World Travel Awards. This was followed by the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2018 in the Best Private Sector eService category for its Data eServices.
Built, designed and operated following the stringent guidelines of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) classification for top airports, the Muscat International Airport covers a gross floor area of 580,000 sqm with the capacity to seamlessly handle 20 million passengers per year.
The airport’s southern runway was enhanced, increasing its length to 4km, while another new 4km long runway was built to accommodate wide-bodied A380 and Boeing 747 aircrafts. It also has a 32,000sqm cargo terminal with a capacity of around 350,000 tons per year and a potential to expand to 500,000 tons per year. Currently, the national carrier, Oman Air, operates about 200 flights each day from the airport.
With well thought out public amenities such as mobile charging points at easy-to-find spots, sleeper seats at the far end of departures, and strategically placed tourist information booths, the airport also has ample dining options that cover a ground of 12,000sqm and offer a selection of popular casual-dining eateries. The Duty-Free Shop is another great place to do some last-minute shopping. For spa enthusiasts, the Be Relax Spa offers round-the-clock spa services for transit passengers and is the perfect place to unwind and submit oneself to the hands of a professional masseuse.
Those yearning for a little extra can avail of the star amenities at the Primeclass Muscat Lounge that has everything from a cinema, game zone, and spa to private suites, family rooms, and kids playrooms. Its open buffet is a delight of freshly made traditional and international cuisines with an exclusive section for children. The Prime Valet Service, Primeclass Meet & Assist Services and Fast Track Services, and the Aerotel transit hotel are all specially tailored to ensure that travel is smooth, comfortable and enjoyable. Aerotel Muscat also has an exclusive Flight Club, a swimming pool and fitness corner as well as its own business centre.
Whether in transit or a little too early for the flight, the Muscat International Airport has an abundance of options to soak in, making it an experience in itself.