History Of Oman Aviation

The History of Oman Aviation

Beit Al Falaj Airport

Bait Al Falaj Airport, dating back to 1929, was nothing but a dirt track landing strip, mainly put to use for military purposes. It was additionally being utilized by the Petroleum Development Oman Company for its aircraft, flying between Muscat and oil exploration fields in Fahud, Qarn Al Alam and other locations.

Bait Al Falaj Airport was the first airport in Oman, fitted with limited equipment and facilities to serve as a civilian airport. It had a Communication Centre, a Customs Office, asphalt parking for aircraft and a maintenance shed, with theses modest facilities, the airport was able to play a small part in the advancement of civil aviation in Oman.

In the sixties Gulf Air started using the airport for its DC3 aircraft, with the advent of the seventies Pakistan and British Airlines commenced operation in Oman with semi regular passenger flights. Although Bait Al Falaj Airport was used mainly for military purposes in addition to a few civilian flights, takeoffs and landings were fraught with dangers due to the narrow landing strip and high mountains and hills around the airport area.

Bait Al Falaj Airport is now just a memory, the site of the airfield is now the center of modern commercial and residential buildings.


Seeb International Airport

Oman has been expanding steadily since 1970, when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said came to power and introduced a programme of economic reforms, boosting spending on health, education and welfare. Recognizing the need for a new airport to support the anticipated growth in passenger and cargo movements, a contract was placed by the government in September 1970 for the construction of Seeb Airport now Muscat International Airport.

Situated approximately 32 kilometers west of the city Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, it was officially inaugurated on 23rd December 1973. The following year, to demonstrate that the airport could accommodate the world`s fastest commercial aircraft, Concorde landed during the flight test programme.

By the end of the first year, approximately 87,200 passengers has passed through the airport, the airport handled 4.7 million passengers in 2006, an amazing growth the primary reasons for growth are the expansion of Oman`s tourism and business sectors.

In 1983, the airport saw major expansions in the arrival and departure terminals and a new transit hall that included several duty-free shops. The current cargo terminal was completed in 1991 with modern facilities on par with other international airports.

A consortium comprising of British Airport Authority (BAA), Bahwan Trading Company and ABB Equity ventures assumes the management and development of Muscat and Salalah Airports effective from January 2002, on a 25-year concession deal as part of the privatization plan for both airports, Oman Airports Management Co. was formed.

November 2004, the government of the Sultanate of Oman reassumes the management and development of Seeb and Salalah Airports, the government of the Sultanate of Oman and the partners of Oman Airports Management Co. could not reach an agreement on the financial basis for the development of the new terminal at Muscat International Airport, Oman Airports Management Co. is maintained with a change in the shareholding of the company.


Muscat International Airport

The name Seeb International Airport was changed to Muscat International Airport on 1st February 2008, the new name focuses on Muscat, the city whose name is historically associated with the country which is known worldwide.

The necessary approvals for the change of name has been obtained from the International Civil Aviation Organization, hence Muscat International Airport will propagate globally.