Sunday, 20 Oct 2019 | 21 Safar 1441
Salalah experience comes in handy for new Muscat airport

Salalah expertise comes in handy for new Muscat airport

This was revealed to the media by Oman Airports at an occasion held on Wednesday to talk about the challenges and successes of the new airport in its initial fortnight of operations.

Oman Airports CEO, Sheikh Aiman al Hosni mentioned, “The experience we gained in Salalah in moving to the new terminal was invaluable and we managed to make the move to the new Muscat International Airport within two hours on March 20. As with every project, there were always teething troubles such as long waiting times for luggage or the mobilisation of cleaning crew. All these were tackled by Oman Airports management team in record time.”

Sheikh Hosni mentioned that the initiative by Oman Airports to attain out to the media and share its challenges and successes was carried out with transparency, displaying actual Oman airports information.

He added that Omanisation price at Oman Airports had reached 93 per cent. Following the speak, senior Oman Airports managers created presentations about the new airport.

Logistical challenges

Data presented showed a marked dip in on time efficiency (OTP) of departing flights in the course of the initial 4 days of operation. On March 21, a day right after the opening of the new airport, OTP dropped to 20 per cent. By March 26, OTP percentage was on par with the old airport at 70 per cent. In the following days, the percentage rose close to 80 per cent. The OTP percentage is now stabilised and at times exceeds that of the old airport.

Massive activity

David Wilson, chief operations officer for Oman Airports and common manager of Muscat International Airport, mentioned, “The trials and the switch to the new terminal have been a huge logistical activity. I’ve been in this company for 26 years, but I had by no means planned an operational transfer of this size.

“The team spirit across all stakeholders has been totally awe-inspiring. It’s fair to say these transfers do not come with out challenges.

“There has been a number of false starts with this project. I believe some suppliers didn’t think opening it on March 20 would actually happen but we knew it was going to happen.”
He added, “The Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) was in a state of construction up to a few hours before we actually opened on March 20. The incomplete integration of systems is a real challenge.”

He went on to mention a quantity of significant regional and international airports which had been impacted by incomplete integration systems.

“In order to handle the challenges, we set up an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). It’s a command and manage centre. I come from a military background and we speak about 3 layers of manage which are operational (bronze), tactical (silver), and strategic (gold).

“The people in this room are gold commanders. This room is full of people who are decision- makers. These are people who can make in-the-moment decisions for the benefit of the passenger to ensure safety, security and operational performance of a high standard.”

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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