Sohar Airport emerges third hub for international airlines operating in Oman
Sohar Airport became the third hub for international airlines in the country after Muscat and Salalah with the launch of international flights by Air Arabia on July 9. The airport will now also serve as local alternative destination for any emergency situations at Muscat International Airport.
Another international airline, Qatar Airways has also confirmed the launch of its flights to Sohar from August 8. The airline will start its new service between Doha and Sohar with three weekly flights. Oman’s first low cost carrier SalamAir started thrice weekly Salalah to Sohar flights from June 28.
The Air Arabia flight G9237 from Sharjah landed at around 8.40am on July 9, making it the first international commercial flight to touch down in the city. The airline started with three flights a week service to Sohar from Sharjah.
With the launch, Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) stated that Sohar Airport is the new gateway in Oman, and will act as an alternative destination for any exigencies at Muscat International Airport. “Sohar Airport will be the local alternative in emergency situations at Muscat International Airport,” OAMC said.
Mohammed bin Nasser al Zaabi, CEO of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), in a tweet stated, “This is start of the first international flight to Sohar Airport and followed by another soon, God willing. Best wishes and good luck to Air Arabia.”
Zaabi was referring to Qatar Airways, which will start its service between Doha and Sohar with three-weekly flights beginning August 8.
OAMC said that Sohar Airport started operations on November 18, 2014 with the launch of Oman Air flight from Muscat (now suspended) and the airport will be able to receive 250,000 passengers annually when the new terminal is ready.
Larsen & Toubro (Oman) was awarded the RO36mn third phase contract at the end of 2015. The scope of work includes the construction of a passenger terminal building, as well as a dedicated cargo terminal building capable of handling around 50,000 tonnes of air freight per annum.
The new route complements Air Arabia’s existing flights to Muscat and Salalah, boosts travel and trade opportunities between Oman and the UAE, and provides hassle-free travel options to the residents of Sohar, the airline said in a statement.
In a boost to flight operations at Sohar Airport and to the participating airlines, PACA on July 10 approved an extra flight for both SalamAir and Air Arabia. With the approval, both SalamAir and Air Arabia are entitled to fly four flights a week to Sohar.
“The authority today issued its approval to add a fourth weekly flight to Sohar from next week for SalamAir and Air Arabia, from Salalah and Sharjah (respectively),” PACA stated.
Zaabi said that the growth prospects for Sohar were encouraging. “Increase in flights to and from Sohar is a good indicator of growth demand and increased passenger traffic. We look forward to more,” he said.
SalamAir started its fourth flight from July 16. The other three flights operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.