After spending a lovely few days visiting friends in Muscat, it was now time to head back to London and back to work.
We had arrived from Gatwick a few days earlier in the early hours, note that the flight now operates into Heathrow with completety different flight times. I had spent most of my time relaxing and visiting the local areas around Muscat. Muscat is a lovely city and much quieter than some of the other Gulf cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Muscat is a similar size to Doha, but much less developed and it still retains it's strong and interesting history. Muscat is of course...very hot at this time of the year!
A few photos of Muscat...
My flight back to London was due to leave during the afternoon at 4PM local time from Muscat Airport (formally known as Seeb up until Feb 2008). The airport is around 20km from Muscat itself and slightly more to the Old Muscat. Muscat Airport isn't the biggest in the region, but is slowly growing.
Carriers serving Muscat include: (Long Haul Operators = *)
Air India Express
Iran Aseman Airways
Pakistan International Airlines
Saudi Arabian Airlines
Shaheen Air International
Sri Lankan Airlines
Muscat Airport is managed by 'Oman Airports Management Company' and has two runways. However only one is used and is currently 11,775ft long. The largest passenger aircraft that the airport sees is the Boeing 777. Muscat also sees the A340 and A330.
Advert for London flights. (note it advertises the A330 and not the A310s)
My friend picked me up and took my to the Airport in time for checkin. The terminal is very basic and quite small. Oman Air have seperate check in desks for Business Class passengers. I was the only person in the line so I was checked in strait away by a lovely South-East Asian woman. There isn't much to do in the airport, so I browsed the shops before heading to the Oman Air lounge.
I was quite suprised to see that shops inside the airport sold 'copied' versions of PS2 games. I decided to purchase Grand Turismo 4 as it was quite cheap. I also purchased an AC Milan Shirt in Muscat City with Kaka on the back. (Thank goodness he didn't go to Manchester City!)
I made my way to the lounge, which was fairly basic and averagely busy with most people heading to London. There was various snacks and hot food available in the lounge. The lounge was pleasant, however nothing compared to other airline lounges such as Vigin's Clubhouse at Heathrow.
Soon enough It was time to head to the gate after being informed politely by the lounge staff. There are no aerobridges here at Muscat so passengers have to be bussed to the aircraft. Upon reaching the gate I boared an air-conditioned bus which took me directly to the aircraft before the Economy Class passengers.
The aircraft was clearly visible as it was the only A310 on the ramp. We passed several company aircraft on our way.
Oman Air 737-800 in the new colours, note eye-brow-less
I love the Gulf scene...
Our aircraft, CS-TEX
Tail view with Economy passengers boarding through the rear door.
I think the A310 is a lovely looking machine...
The A310 operating today's flight was CS-TEX, which previously was operated and deleived to TAP Air Portugal. This aircraft first flew in 1990, so was quite new compared to other A310s flying around. The aircraft was named 'João XXI' whilst it was flown by TAP. The aicraft was replaced by newer A330s and it was taken up by HiFly which was later leased to Oman Air to operate Bangkok and London flights from the Muscat Hub.
Was quite strange seeing this aircraft at Muscat having seen it quite often in Porto, Portugal.
Upon entering the aicraft we were welcomed by the crew. A lovely Asian woman directed me to my seat and asked I wanted a drink before take off. I asked for a orange juice to which she promptly delivered. I was sat in seat 2A. The aircraft still featured the seats from it's TAP Air Portugal days. Nevertheless the seats were still comfortable and were ample for an 8 hour flight back to the UK. The crew also handed out menu's for the flight aswell as amenity kits. The kits included pajamas, slippers, eye masks, toothbrush & toothpaste, mouthwash, fragrence, moisteriser and a few other bits and bobs. All were presented in a leather Oman Air engraved blue carrier which I was impressed by.
Soon after the doors were shut and the aircraft was ready to push-back. The airport was very quiet at this time of day so there was limited traffic and none affecting our departure other than a company 737 landing.
Is this a Cobus 3000?
Another 737-800 in the new colours
WY ATR-42 and 737-700
Military hangers and Hercules
The crew performed the safety demonstration whilst taxiing which was announced in both Arabic and English.
Soon after the captain announced we would be taking off and that the crew should be seated immediatly. We turned onto the active runway and roared off to the North.
Clear blue skies...
Over Iran...the sun was beggning to set by now.
Business Class Cabin
Economy Class Cabin
We were served a main meal and a snack aboard todays flight. I will post a picture of the menu once I have found it in my house
Soon enough after I had woken up from my sleep, it was time to decend into London's Gatwick Airport. For those of you who don't know where Gatwick is; LGW it is located South of London in Crawley. (Heathrow is West and Stansted is North-East)
We made a seires of loops across London before finally coming to a touchdown ahead of schedule on UK soil. It was a short taxi from the runway to the terminal due to the lack of aicraft movements at this hour.
Sorry about the lack of arrival photos. It was very dark outside and there was little activity at London Gatwick at this time.
Oman Air is a new and upcoming long haul carrier. So far doing a good job for Business Class passengers. I was very pleased with my flights, although I didnt have the highest expectations for these flights. However they do need to improve their product and aircraft (which is happening this year). The A330s will arrive this year and will be put onto the London and Bangkok routings whilst the A310s are given back to HiFly. Will be interesting to see what the cabins will look like once the new aircraft arrive. I will be flying back to Muscat later this year and hopefuly I will fly the new A330s. Oman Air is also in talks with Jet Airways to lease some aircraft. A very exciting future is ahead for Oman Air, they just need to make sure they don't expand too fast and loose their high standards.
Thanks for viewing. I just have to say, quick apologies for the qualities of the photos. I didn't have my Cannon 300D with me at the time.
Next trip report is Bristol - Porto - Bristol with Ryanair.
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Directorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1992 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Lovely trip report for what is the Gulf's 'lesser' aircraft-Oman can be quite left behind with the bigger city-states stealing the spotlight.
Thanks a lot.
Wonder if the Omani government has 'plans' to make Oman Air a big airline.
Are there any plans for expanding the terminal at MCT, adding aerobridges, etc...? I know they have a lot of space on either side, for expansion.....
Yeah there are plans in place. They include a new terminal and a new runway, both able to handle the A380. A new control tower is included, aswell as 32 aerobridges. A new cargo terminal and parking areas will be included. Construction is due to bein in Q1 2009 (so around now).
Quoting Gr8circle (Reply 6): Where is the 2nd runway? I always thought there's only the one main runway, with the E-W orientation (don't remember the headings)....
It's only 750m long and it is a soil runway. Barely counts as a second runway to be honest.
Quoting Gr8circle (Reply 6): Actually, the old Muscat city is on the opposite side of the downtown Muscat area, away from the airport.....MCT is close to the town of Seeb....
Sorry I should have said it was around 20km from where I was staying and 30km from Old Muscat.
Quoting XA744 (Reply 12): Rob, thank you so very much for having brought me to a wonderful close encounter with the Kingdom, Muscat and Oman Air...
Beautiful and unforgettable trip report !!!
Thanks XA744. Hope you can visit some day.
Quoting Directorguy (Reply 13): Lovely trip report for what is the Gulf's 'lesser' aircraft-Oman can be quite left behind with the bigger city-states stealing the spotlight.
Thanks a lot.
Wonder if the Omani government has 'plans' to make Oman Air a big airline
Thanks. Yeah they are slowly becoming a larger airline. However not on the capacity of nearby EY/EK/QR.
Quoting PKflyer (Reply 14): A very well compelled Trip Report with some beautfiul pictures. Thanks for sharing
Its nice to see the lesser airlines' Trip Reports. Seems as though you enjoyed your experience
Abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined exactly 11 years ago today! , 5158 posts, RR: 54
Reply 17, posted (7 years 4 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 31586 times:
Just wanted to add to the chorus of people commending on you an excellent TR. I love unique reports - and WY is certainly one of them. Thanks a lot. It will sure be interesting to see how they position themselves in an increasingly crowded GCC market.