EXPANDED HORIZONS
Business Traveler|December 2019/January 2020
The improved Muscat International airport has ushered in a new era of aviation for Oman
Dominic Ellis

A hairdryer-like wind blows fiercely near the top of the 318-foot-tall air traffic control tower at Muscat International airport. The narrow terrace has a see-through design that sparks some mild acrophobia. From here you can see the decommissioned airport on the other side of the old runway and, directly beneath, the three-pier new terminal, which opened in March last year. Even at the height of a humid summer’s day, it is a striking view and all the more powerful for its symbolism – uniting Oman aviation’s past, present and future.

Seasoned business travelers will have fond memories of the old airport, as chauffeur transfers took you directly from plane to immigration, and you could be out in a taxi in minutes – although economy passengers won’t miss the bus transfers. Only a fraction of flights now require remote transfers and most passengers arrive and leave swiftly via 40 jetways. As for car transfers, that’s now strictly for VIPs.

The former airport, which opened in 1973, became inadequate as Oman’s economy grew and more leisure travelers flocked to the Sultanate’s abundant natural wonders. Still, the construction journey at the new one wasn’t without its challenges, which led to delays.

A year and a half on, memories are fading. Terminal duty manager Ashraf Amir Ali Al Hinai shows me around the 3.7 million-square-foot facility, which is about seven times the size of the former Seeb International airport. My favorite then-and-now is the elevators – three then compared with 118 now.

It has been well received, jumping from 75th spot in Airports Council International’s Airport Service Quality rankings in the last quarter of 2017 to 14th a year later (among airports with 15-25 million passengers). The goal is to climb into the top ten. Last year it handled 15.3 million passengers and this year it is forecasting 16.3 million. Oman Air handles 60 percent of all flights here with services throughout the region and as far afield as London Heathrow, Mumbai, Guangzhou and Kuala Lumpur.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BUSINESS TRAVELERView All

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

BEST FOR Oceanfront stays with terrific dining, swimming pools and an expansive beach.

2 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

The Crane Resort, Barbados

BEST FOR Clifftop views with vigorous ocean breezes, exotic dining and all-suite accommodations

2 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

Williamsburg

Chock full of history, this easy-to-reach destination is a kaleidoscope of old and new experiences for everyone

2 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

TESTING 1-2 -3

For now, COVID-19 tests are likely to be part of your travel experience. Here’s your guide to what to look for and where to find it

7 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

ROI FROM THE ROAD

As business travel resets, maximizing value of each trip is a bigger question than go-or-no-go

6 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

New World Travel Order

Your voice today can help shape the journeys of the future

3 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

MIXED MESSAGES

Hybrid meetings are likely here to stay, but are already morphing into something more

6 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

RETURN TO TRAVEL

Travelers and the industry both ask: Are we there yet?

8 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

REMOTE POSSIBILITIES

Digital nomads are being inspired to imagine themselves working from – just about everywhere

6 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021

Points of Interest

As post-pandemic travel restarts, your loyalty may be more valuable than ever

4 mins read
Business Traveler
June/July 2021
RELATED STORIES

Thoroughly Modern Muscat

Oman’s prosperous capital impresses business and leisure travelers.

9 mins read
Global Traveler
March 2021

Muscat - State Of Calm

Muscat flourishes in the prosperous and peaceful Sultanate of Oman.

5 mins read
Global Traveler
March 2019

PURSUIT OF MARKET ACCESS: India may mull preferential trade pact with Oman: Piyush Goyal

COMMERCE & INDUSTRY minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday India will likely consider a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Oman to further boost economic co-operation.

1 min read
Financial Express Mumbai
May 13, 2022

Oman to fast-track approval for Indian pharma products

OMAN ON WEDNESDAY decided to fast-track the approval process for the registration of Indian pharmaceutical products that are already registered by the relevant authorities in the US, the UK and the EU.

1 min read
Financial Express Mumbai
May 12, 2022

India, Oman to have joint study on limited trade deal

India and Oman on Wednesday agreed to undertake a joint feasibility study, before going ahead with a preferential trade deal on limited goods.

2 mins read
Business Standard
May 12, 2022

EXOTIC LOCALES

Escape into a labyrinth of vibrant souks, striking mountains and beaches, and sheer luxury in Oman, which has lifted travel restrictions since the pandemic.

2 mins read
Harper's Bazaar India
March 2022

Cav opens win account in Oman

Manxman puts down first marker in bid for Tour de France spot, writes Vern Pitt

2 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
February 17, 2022

Jakobsen first out of the blocks in race for Tour slot

Dutchman racks up two wins in Valenciana, reports Vern Pitt

3 mins read
CYCLING WEEKLY
February 10, 2022

Indian passport rises 7 spots in '21 to 83rd rank

 Covid-19 may have clipped your wings but an Indian passport now allows you visa-free access to 60 countries. The Henley Passport Index (HPI) says the desi passport rose seven position to become the world’s 83rd most powerful document last year, up from 90th in 2020, when this number of countries was 58. The latest results from this index show “record-breaking levels of travel freedom” for top-ranking Japan and Singapore since the index’s inception 17 years ago.

1 min read
The Times of India Mumbai
January 12, 2022

India needs to tap Oman, boost economic, strategic ties

There are immense possibilities of strengthening mutually beneficial ties between the two countries that New Delhi must leverage.

5 mins read
The Daily Guardian
January 03, 2022