Salalah International Airport is the second largest airport in the Sultanate of Oman. It started operations in 1977 as a domestic airport and turned international in 2004. Salalah is a major tourist destination in Oman because of the city’s cooler climate in summers.

The airport handled 1.52 million passengers and 14,444 aircraft movements in 2017.

The Omani Government’s strategic initiative to develop the city’s tourism further has raised the need to improve the airport’s capacity and facilities. As a result, the Ministry of Transport and Communications undertook a series of expansions at the airport.

A new international terminal is one of the most significant expansions, which considerably increased the passenger capacity of the airport.

The Muscat International Airport, which is the largest airport in the Sultanate, is also being expanded simultaneously to meet growing passenger traffic.

Expansions at Oman’s second largest airport and interim measures

“Salalah is a major tourist destination in Oman because of the city’s cooler climate in summers.”

Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) completed a few interim expansions at the Salalah airport to cope with passenger growth before the construction of the new terminal.

Short-term developments included increasing the number of check-in counters from six to ten, expanding the arrivals concourse and the departures areas, as well as increasing the number of immigration counters.

The international arrivals area of the existing terminal was expanded further, with more baggage conveyor belts, immigration counters and passenger facilities.

Other works included a new runway, control tower, a 100,000tpa cargo terminal (expandable to 200,000tpa), as well as a wide-body hangar and maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.

Features of the existing terminal of Salalah airport

The old terminal currently serves domestic operations and has three departure gates. There are two X-ray screening machines each, for pre check-in, post-emigration and arrivals.

It has ten check-in counters and a departures hall that offers special check-in facilities for first and business class passengers.

The arrivals hall has facilities such as ATM, car rental and currency exchange. The departures hall has a passenger lounge, public seating area, prayer room, cafeteria and a book shop.

Construction of the new Salalah terminal and check-in facilities

The new terminal at the Salalah International Airport is designed for a capacity of six million passengers. It is being developed in four stages, with the first stage completed in 2014. Stage one expanded the airport’s passenger capacity to one million passengers a year. Stage two, three and four will respectively expand the capacity to two, four and six million passengers a year.

The new terminal building has a gross floor area of 65,638m2 and features seven boarding bridges. It features 25 check-in counters and four self-service check-in kiosks.

Air traffic control installed by Indra at the international airport

The expanded airport has eight aircraft stands. The new air traffic control tower is 57m high. The air traffic management systems were installed by Indra, which subcontracted Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems to provide advanced surface movement guidance and control systems (A-SMGCS).

Runway and car parking at Oman’s Salalah International Airport

The airport has a single 4,000m-long and 60m-wide runway. The old runway became a parallel taxiway after the new runway was opened in 2015.

The airport’s old terminal has three car park areas with a total capacity of 486 cars, located in the front, east and west of the terminal building. The parking space in front of the terminal has a capacity of 130 cars, the one to the east of the terminal has 132 spaces while the one in the west has 224 spaces.

The new passenger terminal has 1,957 car parking spaces, while the cargo terminal has 370 car park spaces.

Contractors involved with the Salalah airport expansion projects

Principal consultant for the airport’s expansion was the joint venture between COWI, Larsen Architects and Copenhagen Airports. Project management services were provided by Adpi, a subsidiary of Aeroports de Paris. The cost consultant is Milcris.

“The Omani Government’s strategic initiative to develop the city’s tourism further has raised the need to improve the airport’s capacity and facilities.”

Vanderlande Industries installed the new baggage handling systems at the airport.

Ultra Electronics was awarded a contract to install IT and security systems at the airport. The navigational aid systems were supplied by Thales.

The contract for the design, construction and supervision of the cargo terminal, hangars and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities was awarded to Ghafari Associates.

A joint venture (JV) between Galfar Engineering & Contracting and L&T Oman was awarded a $763m subcontract by COWI to construct the new terminal, runway and associated infrastructure and equipment, as well as convert the existing runway into a taxiway.

L&T Oman was responsible for the terminal’s construction, which is valued at $500m. Galfar was responsible for the remaining works worth $263m. In-flight catering facilities were built by Al-Hatmy Engineering.

Halcrow conducted passenger simulation studies at the airport under a subcontract from the COWI-led JV. FMG was responsible for overseeing the commissioning, relocation and operation of the airport.

Road connectivity to Salalah airport

A new airport interchange road was built to connect the new airport terminal with the city’s road network. The interchange was designed and its construction was supervised by COWI.