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Air traffic up 106% of pre-pandemic levels

17 Feb 2024 Oman air traffic up 106% of pre-pandemic levels By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has collaborated with over 70 entities to prepare the National Civil Aviation Strategy 2040, which is expected to be launched mid-year.

Naif bin Ali al Abri, Chairman of CAA, made the announcement in an interview with Oman TV, emphasising that the strategy is set to reinforce the sultanate’s strategic aviation position, leveraging its geographical advantage as a link between East and West. “A significant focus of the strategy is augmentation of air cargo facilities at Muscat and Salalah airports, which are envisioned to become pivotal hubs in the region,” he said.

Abri informed that the aviation sector in Oman has begun to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; air traffic in the sultanate increased 106% in 2023 compared to 2019. “More than 465,000 aircraft crossed the sultanate’s airspace in 2023, averaging about 1,800 aircraft per day, while Muscat International Airport handled over 12.5mn passengers last year.”

He added that CAA earned RO110mn in revenues in 2023, making it one of the largest government contributors to the state treasury. “The aviation strategy aims to ensure the financial sustainability of the authority.”

Abri revealed that there are plans to convert the old Muscat International Airport into an aviation museum in the near future.

Oman-Saudi civil aviation collaboration

CAA held a meeting with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Muscat on Thursday to boost bilateral relations and enhance regional and international cooperation in civil aviation.

The two sides discussed opportunities to increase air transport rights and ways to optimally activate the Saudi and Omani airspaces to raise their efficiency and capacity in line with the steady growth in air traffic regionally and globally. 

This aligns with the two side’s efforts directed at exploring a joint tourism calendar and facilitating tourism between the two countries. 

Meteorology sector

Abri also informed that the authority is not currently considering  privatisation of the meteorology sector, as the department is considered a regional centre.

The authority also launched an initiative called Friends of Meteorology last year for amateur meteorologists. Its programme aims to facilitate meetings and training sessions focused on weather forecasting.

CAA held the first gathering of weather enthusiasts in 2023 in which 150 participated. It was aimed to help improve weather enthusiasts’ skills and support their growth in this field.

The authority launched its new identity and also that of the Civil Aviation Club last week.

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