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Passengers face long queues, e-gate issues at Muscat airport 

5 Dec 2023 Passengers face long queues, e-gate issues at Muscat airport By ANIRBAN RAY

Muscat – Known for its efficient operations, Muscat International Airport is currently grappling with passenger management challenges. Passenger reports indicate that the airport is experiencing prolonged queues at immigration counters, as a result of e-gates not functioning, causing delays and discomfort for passengers.

Travellers arriving at the airport are encountering queues that can extend up to a few hours, leaving passengers dissatisfied. The immigration process, once swift and seamless, now leads to unnecessary delays and stress.

The primary trigger for the long queues appears to be the non-functional electronic gates, which have been out of service for some time. It has significantly slowed down processing of incoming passengers. Additionally, the absence of dedicated counters for women, senior citizens and families further exacerbates the situation, leading to longer wait time for all passengers.

Many travellers have voiced their concern over the current state of affairs at the airport. A passenger from Pakistan, who preferred to be anonymous, expressed frustration over the long wait, particularly after enduring long flights. 

“I was told that over ten flights landed within a few minutes, leading to this situation. I was in the queue for two hours and the lines hardly move. The immigration process needs to be faster. After a long journey, is this what passengers deserve?”

According to Alam, a traveller from Dhaka, the fast-track option, which offers a quicker immigration process for a fee of OR10, is not a viable solution for everyone, particularly individuals and families travelling on a budget.

However, those opting for the fast-track service have reported delays, too. Venkatesh, a passenger from India, shared his experience of facing a considerable wait time despite paying for the express service. “I flew in from Chennai and saw long slow-moving queues at immigration. It was tedious; so I opted for fast track. But even after paying RO10, I had to wait for 30 minutes. There was only one fast track counter. On insistence of passengers, two counters were finally opened,” Venkatesh said of his experience on arriving at Muscat airport at 3am on Monday.

Seeing the situation, airport authorities opened the GCC/Omani counters for passengers of other nationalities. 

The departure area of the airport mirrors these challenges, with crowded counters and non-functional e-gates leading to a slow start to travellers’ journeys. An Egyptian traveller was disappointment with the delay at the very beginning of his holiday. “I wonder why the e-gates don’t work!” 

According to sources in the airport, new e-gate machines will arrive very soon, which will solve the problem of long queues at immigration.

The situation at Muscat International Airport calls for urgent attention from the relevant authorities to restore its reputation as a convenient and efficient travel hub.

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