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Green signal on airports eagerly awaited

1 Sep 2020 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

Even as the resumption of scheduled flights to and from Oman is eagerly awaited, authorities have reiterated Muscat International Airport’s readiness to operate as per Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) guidelines.

There was much speculation on flights resuming on September 1 but the decision is still awaited from the Supreme Committee tasked to look into the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As per instructions, unscheduled and special flights to facilitate the travel of citizens and foreigners between the sultanate and other countries will continue until the Supreme Committee gives a go ahead to resume scheduled flights,” a CAA official said.

A plan to restart domestic and international flights has been prepared by the Ministry of Transport and submitted to the Supreme Committee, the official said. “CAA’s recovery plan is ready. The decision to restart air traffic lies with the Supreme Committee.”

In a statement, Oman Air said, ‘Our planes and people are ready and Oman’s airports are ready, too. When we can fly, we will provide safe, careful service to our guests, along with all travel-related information and requirements.’

According to Airport Security, the safety of passengers and employees is top priority at terminals across Oman.

“The work conducted by the Directorate General for Airport Security ensures creating an environment that is safe for employees, as well as ensuring proper security measures are in place. As this requires direct contact between police officials and those present at the airports, it is important to take necessary measures to maintain employee safety according to CAA guidelines,” said Major Khaled al Battashi of the ROP, while speaking on Oman Radio recently.

“We are in touch with the Ministry of Health to have specialised medical teams conduct workshops about the health protocols that must be followed in the upcoming period to perform their tasks with the current security measures that are in place,” he said.

According to Maj Battashi, the best way to overcome the current health crisis is to increase awareness among citizens and residents. “One of the main challenges we have is restoring confidence in the aviation sector.”

While special flights are currently being operated, passengers have eagerly awaited the news of scheduled flights resuming so that they can fly to their preferred destinations and without the requirement of approvals.

“I was hoping for scheduled flights to restart in September so that I could go for a holiday to either Malaysia or Thailand but it seems we have to wait a bit longer. There was speculation that flights would resume on September 1 but there’s no news so far. We have to wait but I am sure the authorities are delaying the decision for our safety,” Fuad al Farsi, an oil field worker said.

Following the decision by the Supreme Committee to temporarily close airports to all commercial flights, barring those carrying cargo, airlines operating in the sultanate have organised special flights for passengers, including the Vande Bharat Mission flights flying stranded Indians back home. 

The Indian Embassy in Muscat recently announced 21 flights in Phase 6 of the Vande Bharat Mission, including Muscat-Kannur  on September 3 and Muscat-Mumbai on September 4.

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