In a clear indication of the growth of air traffic to and from the governorate of Dhofar, Salalah airport has exceeded the one million passenger milestone in less than ten months of operations; a figure that hadn’t been reached till nearly the end of the year in 2015.
The airport ended 2015 having served 1,027,578 passengers which, according to Salim bin Awad Al Yafaei, General Manager of Salalah Airport, means that the airport has witnessed a growth in passenger traffic of 19%. He also stated that if this growth rate holds steady, the airport will reach the two million visitor milestone in less than four years.
Al Yafaei also mentioned that the launch of the new Salalah Airport in June 2015 was a milestone in the history of the entire governorate. With tourism is amongst the primary avenues of growth for the Government’s plans for Economic diversification, the airport will play a pivotal role in supporting the growth of the economy. In fact the airport was designed with such long term growth in mind and is even capable of handling as many as three million passengers annually if required.
The General Manager of the Airport also stated that this was an achievement not just for the airport but also for all the staff working within it, 90% of which constitutes Omanis. “We can also go so far as to say that it was a national achievement earned from the hard work and perseverance of the people of this nation who, regardless of their varied positions and in cooperation with agencies and strategic partners, worked towards the nation’s promotion and development,” he added.
Salalah airport began receiving several international direct flights this year, which has reflected positively on the number of passengers using the airport, growing from 789,836 passenger at the end of September in 2015 to reach 932,938 passenger by the end of September this year; a number which has since exceeded the one million milestone on October 15 this year. In fact, the months of July and August witnessed the highest passenger traffic of the year. The airport witnessed 133,654 passenger in July and subsequently topping off at the peak of the fall season in August with 197,956 passengers, recording the highest monthly passenger rate so far this year.
Salim bin Awad Al Yafaei, General Manager of Salalah Airport concluded by saying:
“We are focusing all of our energy towards promoting Salalah Airport as gateway for tourism and are working with several airlines and companies in the field to increase the number of direct flights to the airport. I am confident we will see the fruits of our labor next year and witness even higher levels of passenger traffic through the airport. We, as part of the airport management, will continue in our duty to serve our visitors to the best of our ability and ensure their experience at the airport is on par with the best global standards.”
Gateway to the Dhofar region, Salalah Airport began operation in June 2015 and was officially opened in November of the same year as part of the Sultanate’s 46th National Day Celebrations. Spanning over 65,000 sqm and inspired by traditional Omani architecture, it is Oman’s second major passenger airport and houses 28 counters and self-service booths, eight airline bridges, multiple retail stores and restaurants, a VIP lounge and a car park with 1,957 parking spaces. The airport has a current capacity of two million passengers each year with future expansions planned to cater to up to six million passengers annually.