Oman's aviation sector set for boost in growth
Oman to invest $6.1bn in aviation over the next five years
With Oman set to invest $6.1bn in the aviation industry over the next five years, the sector is expected to grow at a speed not witnessed before, says a report in Muscat Daily.
Eight percent of the above funds has been set apart for the completion of the four new regional airports at Sohar, Duqm, Ras al Hadd and Adam, with the rest alloted for the development of the Sultanate’s two main airports at Muscat and Salalah.
While the Muscat Airport is expected to have 8mn passengers pass through it this year, it is estimated that the Salalah airport will have 700,000 visitors by the end of 2013. The four new regional airports will have a combined capacity to handle almost 2mn passengers every year.
Vic Allen, acting CEO, Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said he expects the growth at Muscat Airport to continue when the new facility comes up.
“The new airport is designed for 12mn passengers, but it is easily extendable to 24mn, 36mn, and even 48m ultimately,” Allen said. “There is no shortage of capacity planned, and we are confident it will support aviation growth for many years to come.”
Allen added that the recent announcement that the government would open up the aviation sector to more private sector involvement also bodes well for the industry.
“With the new airports under construction, it will be a huge opportunity for private sector development or joint venture type development,” he said. “There are a large range of secondary industries supporting the airport, for example, logistics, warehousing, and hotels.”
“Historically, these types of industries have not been centered around the airport,” Allen explained. “There is a huge potential for that, and we are looking forward to providing opportunities for businesses to setup that way in the next few years.”
Khalfan Said Al Shueili, readiness GM, OAMC, said that the upgrade of the airports at Muscat and Salalah will represent “a quantum leap in terms of existing facilities.”
“This is both in terms of size—the new Muscat Terminal will handle up to 12mn people per annum in the first phase and at over 350,000m2, it is over seven times larger than our existing terminal building—and technology,” Al Shueili said.