From a modest-sized domestic airport, Sohar Airport is poised for a higher growth, thanks to an uptick in the number of flights from Qatar Airways.
While Salam Air started its operations from Sohar Airport in June 2017, Air Arabia commenced its flights in July. Qatar Airways launched its inaugural flight to Suhar in August. Operations by all the three airlines out of Suhar are expected to give a strong boost to business and tourism in this industrial port city.
The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) no Wednesday said it had approved a total of seven weekly flights from Qatar Airways from Suhar from October 1, a significant jump from three weekly flights previously.
This represents a significant escalation in Qatar Airways’ operations in the Sultanate. Launching services in 2000, Qatar Airways’ flights out of Oman will soar to 63 per week when the new flights commence.
At present, flights between Doha and Suhar are scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
As part of the 44th National Day celebrations, Sohar Airport was officially inaugurated by Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, in November 2014, with Oman Air operating an inaugural flight to mark the official opening.
For Oman, Sohar Airport is the third hub for international airlines. In July, PACA granted approval to Air Arabia and Salam Air for increasing their weekly flights from three to four. With the upsurge in aircraft movements in Suhar and given the growth potential for passenger traffic in and out of this airport, industry pundits envision the need for a possible upscaling of the airport infrastructure to cater to these growth projections.
The establishment of the Oman Aviation Academy (OAA) in Suhar, which will start operating from next year, also underscores this potential.
The Omani Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD) is overseeing the implementation of investments and initiatives under the national offset programme.
OAA will be located at Sohar Airport and operated by CAE, a leading civil and defence aviation training company with approximately 160 training sites in more than 35 countries around the world.
The facility will include 3,000 square metres of aircraft hangar in addition to 4,000 square metres for students’ housing, a tower and a taxiway. The academy is expected to train 153 candidates once all facilities are in place. The first phase of the academy is expected to begin by the last quarter of this year.