The new Muscat International Airport will be entering the advanced trials phase now. An official at the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said that improvements have been made based on public feedback.
He also said that the response has been much more than anticipated. Underlining the importance of these trials, Saud Nasser al Hubaishi, GM of Readiness, OAMC told Muscat Daily that the upcoming fire evacuation exercises will be one of the project’s biggest milestones to date. “We have completed our first trial with over 1,000 passengers on January 17.
The number of participants has been steadily growing since the trials began in August. We have a fire evacuation exercise planned on January 27, followed by a full fire evacuation which will have 3,000 participants. This will be a major landmark,” he said.
Trials will ensure smooth operation. “Our team makes sure that the new Muscat International Airport will be run in a way that is operationally efficient, effective, safe and secure. In order to do this we have to simulate real scenarios. This period is called, Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT), and it’s broken into different milestones,” he added.
First is basic standard operational procedures. Staff was familiarised with the building and procedures. Basic trials scrutinised the whole journey from check-in to departures or arrivals to the exit. This was done by the airport community staff. Nineteen trials were held from August 16 to December 3. Four trials were held starting from December 3.
On January 6, the trials went full fledged and were held twice a week every Monday and Wednesday. The number of passengers increased from 300 to over 1,000. Hubaishi also stressed on the invaluable information gathered from the trials and how public involvement of this scale in such a project is a first.
“Initially, OAMC was hoping to get 17,000 people to participate in the trials, but 28,000 people registered. Of these 28,000 registered, there were many who wanted to come again. The campaign has been very successful. We have a dedicated team tasked for collecting data from the 200 tablets made available to passengers.”
The information is analysed and implemented, he said. “A report is submitted to the concerned department and then the changes are implemented. Some of the changes made based on passenger feedback include, wayfinding signs, queuing system in the check-in hall, changes in the location of some furniture items, addition of furniture in certain areas. We also changed details such as font sizes and the height of desks in order to accommodate people with special needs.” The next trial run is on Wednesday.