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Aviation sector nears pre-COVID operation levels

29 Jul 2023 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – The civil aviation sector in Oman is showing signs of a strong recovery. Airports across the country are now operating at close to 70% of pre-pandemic capacities, with forecasts indicating a surpassing of 2019 activity levels in the next few months.

In order to bolster economic, social and tourism development, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is focusing on amplifying collaboration in air transport with nations worldwide to augment frequency of airlines operating to and from Oman.

Currently, Oman is party to numerous bilateral agreements pertaining to air transport with countries around the globe. These agreements aim to regulate air transport services, including the necessary technical and operational aspects, in order to fortify international civil aviation relationships.

Naif bin Ali al Abri, President of CAA, has confirmed that the authority is looking forward to ink three more bilateral air agreements in the coming months. “Negotiations are underway with several countries, with the total number of agreements already standing at 122, including 66 open skies agreements.”

In a statement to ONA, Abri said that approximately 40 airlines currently serve Oman’s airports and expressed optimism about attracting more in the future. He projected a return to 2019 levels in the near future by introducing the national carrier Oman Air to new destinations, incorporating new aircraft into the national fleet, and inviting more carriers to operate at Oman’s airports.

Passenger numbers at Oman’s airports increased 30.3% in the first half of 2023 to over 1.098mn, compared to 842,800 in the same period of 2022. Aircraft traffic rose 28.4% till the end of June 2023 to 9,784 flights compared to 7,622 flights in June 2022.

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