A view of Muscat airport from the new departures extension. Image Credit: Courtesy Oman Airports Management Company SAOC

Muscat: The October monthly report shared by National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) Oman shows a stark decrease of up to 66 per cent in arrivals and departures at Muscat International Airport, Oman’s main airport.

With the pandemic situation, restrictions on travel and visa issuance, the flights to and from Oman were affected, though since August the figures show some improvement. There was a 23 per cent increase in flights from August to September, and passenger numbers too increased during this period to 44 per cent. Domestic flights in Oman also recorded an increase during September as did the passenger numbers.

The domestic airports in Oman are Salalah, Sohar, Duqum and Khasab. Salalah is the second largest city in the Sultanate. Together, the airports handled 3,908,289 passengers this year till September end and the flights that landed and departed during the period were 28,455.

Arrivals and departures from India accounted for the most with 20,784 Indians arriving into Oman and 14,576 departing in September, with Pakistan featuring second with 6,985 arriving and 9,111 departing. Bangladesh accounted for 4,921 arrivals and 787 departures. The pandemic situation also saw many residents returning to their countries due to job loss.

The total decrease in arrivals and departures this year through all airports in Oman are 72 and 70 per cent, respectively, compared to 2019 figures till September. Oman resumed normal flight operations from October 1 and the airport has been welcoming passengers from around the world arriving through various airlines.

An air bubble agreement between Oman and India was established and has been effective from October 1 to November 30 this year. The designated carriers of both the countries are operating services between Oman and India with certain conditions pertaining to carriage of passengers.