Atheer – External Sources
Today saw the launch of the first test flight via the new Muscat International Airport, which brings us to the story of the development of the Sultanate’s airports.
According to the Oman Airports Management Company, the Sultanate’s first airport was the Bait Al Falaj Airport, built in 1929.
The airport did not have a blacktop runway, but rather a dirt track. It was mostly used for military aircraft, as well as planes belonging to PDO, which would fly between Muscat and the oil fields in Fuhood and Qarn Al Alam, among others.
During the 1960s Gulf Air started operating flights to and from Bait Al Falaj, followed by Pakistan Airways and subsequently British Airways.
Bait Al Falaj Airport was used principally for military puposes, in addition to the few civilian aircraft that would make dangerous landings and takeoffs, due to the state of the runway and the high mountains surrounding the airport.
In September of 1970 the Omani government signed a contract pertaining to the construction of Seeb International Airport, located around 32 kilometres from the city of Muscat. The airport was officially opened on the 23rd of December 1973 with the airport receiving the world’s fastest passenger plane for a test flight the following year.
In 1983 Seeb International Airport expanded its passenger terminals and added duty free shopping. The current cargo terminal was completed in 1991, boasting modern facilities similar to those of other international airports.
The airport’s name was officially changed to Muscat International Airport in February 2008.