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CLARA MOSCHINI

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New airport opens in Muscat (Oman)

The inauguration is scheduled in March

The inauguration of the new Muscat international Airport, in Oman, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20. It is an example of the modernization work desired by Sultan Qaboos bin Said, as declared by Ahmed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications. After a test phase, which saw the simulation of over 500 flights, all departing and arriving routes will be transferred soon from the current Muscat airport to the new terminal, with the aim at increasing and improving service provided to international passengers. Even visitors coming from Italy -which is currently the fourth largest market in Europe and the sixth one in the world- will be able to experience the services of the very modern airport in a few weeks.

The capital's international hub will extend over a 335,000sm area -of which 6000sm dedicated to the duty-free zone- and will include two car parks built on five levels that will host over 2300 parking spaces. 2054 indoor car parking spaces, 2262 outdoor and 406 seats reserved for employees will also be available in the immediate surroundings of the airport.

The passenger area -which occupies a zone of 580,000 square meters- will consist of: two main gates conforming to accommodate heavy aircraft such as the A-380 and the B-747, 40 fingers for the connection between the airplanes and the terminal and 29 lounges. The bright, modern and spacious check-in area has eight palm trees as dividers, a clear reference to the Omani nature. Many services available to travellers: a 7 km belt that can transport up to 5200 luggages per hour, a 4-star hotel with 90 rooms, bars, restaurants, leisure areas and swimming pools.

In line with the ninth five-year plan of the Sultanate government, the new hub was designed with a view to sustainability with the aim at effectively managing the environmental impacts of airport operations and improving the management of energy demand through modern technologies and investments at low CO2 emissions.

There is a great waiting atmosphere in the Sultanate and the terminal inauguration's countdown has started on the airport official website. The Terminal will allow in an initial phase to transport 12 million passengers a year with the aim at becoming -in 2020- one of the 20 best international airports. In this perspective even the companies including Oman Air (the Sultanate's reference airline) are preparing to open new long-haul routes in view of the increase into the tourist flows.

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