Oman Readies For Traffic Rebound As Restrictions Ease

Oman’s strong tourism offer will help to rebuild traffic and international connectivity over the coming months after the country relaxed its travel restrictions.

That’s according to Oman Airports CCO Chief Commercial Officer Samer Al Nabhani, who explained that the Sultanate eased measures for fully vaccinated foreign nationals from Sept. 1, lifting a travel ban that has been in place for much of the pandemic.

He said that traffic to and from the country’s airports remains low compared with 2019 levels, but he is optimistic of a rebound thanks to Oman’s attractiveness as a visitor destination.

“The easing of restrictions will help to accelerate traffic numbers,” Al Nabhani told Routes. “The tourist industry was thriving before the crisis, and we are confident that airlines will return to our market now that we are ready to welcome them back.”

Muscat International Airport handled almost 16 million passengers in 2019—a big increase from 12 million just three years earlier.

SalamAir in July launched flights from Muscat (MCT) to Istanbul (IST) and Trabzon (TZX) in Turkey, as well as a seasonal route to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Jordan Aviation began operating to Oman’s capital from Amman in Jordan.

On Oct. 24, Air France also began serving Muscat from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). The route operates three times per week using Boeing 787-9s, providing competition with Oman Air.

Oman Airports said France was a key market for Oman before the pandemic, attracting 68,000 visitors in 2019. The group added that the flights would also open up new opportunities for passengers from Oman to connect to destinations served by Air France and its SkyTeam partners.

Oman Airports is a state-owned company that manages all the airports in Oman, including Muscat, Duqm, Sohar and Salalah.

Photo credit: Mohammed Mahjoub/Getty Images

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.