Oman has named four potential sites for the establishment of a new domestic airport in Musandam Governorate in the north of the sultanate, a report said.
The locations include Bukha, Lima, Al Harf and Khasab, the Oman Observer report said, highlighting that Khasab already has a small airport and its expansion is constrained by its location in the midst of high mountains.
A number of international and local engineering consultancy firms are currently in the run to pick the most suitable site out of the four locations, the report said.
The successful bidder will advise the government on the most advantageous location – from the geographical, technical, aeronautical and financial standpoints – for setting up a modern gateway. Musandam’s reputation as a strategically important enclave and tourist hotspot will be among the criteria for selection of the spot, the report said.
The selected consultant is also required to identify suitable sites at Dibba and Mad’ha for the construction of airstrips, according to Oman’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.
In the first of a two-part study, the consultant will evaluate the pros and cons of building a regional airport in each of the three green-field locations proposed by the government, as well as other potential sites identified by the consultancy firm itself.
For Khasab, the consultant has been tasked with studying the feasibility of clearing part of the surrounding mountains to make room for expansion at the approach and departure ends of the existing runway. The airport, first built in the mid-seventies, features a 2,500-m runway that is currently off-limits to most of the aircraft making up the national carrier Oman Air’s modern fleet, the report said.
The second phase of the consultancy study will focus on masterplanning the development of a suitable location for the eventual hosting of an airport built to international regulations. The new Musandam Airport will be built with runway, taxiway, terminal, and service and hangar area suitable for the handling of up to Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 size aircraft, officials were quoted as saying in the report. An award for the consultancy package is expected early in 2016, the report said.