Muscat International Airport
The main international gateway to Oman is the Muscat International Airport. It is also known by its former name Seeb International Airport, having been constructed in the coastal town of Seeb. The airport is located around 20 miles west of the actual city it now services—the country’s capital, Muscat. Passenger arrivals have been increasing in more recent years as Oman is becoming a more popular tourist destination. In 2009, the airport received four and a half million passengers. In 2010, it was well over five million and in 2011 six and a half million. The airport has one terminal as of writing. A new larger terminal is being built for completion in 2014. Airport authorities say the new terminal will be able to handle up to 12 million passengers a year.
Muscat International is well connected to many flight hubs in Europe, the rest of the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The airport is the hub for Oman Air, which along with British Airways, flies direct from London-Heathrow. Lufthansa flies direct from Frankfurt and KLM from Amsterdam. There are no direct flights to North America, however, so passengers from the US usually make a stopover at the larger Doha Airport in Qatar, the hub of the major global carrier Qatar Airways.
Visitors arriving at Muscat International will have a number of facilities at their disposal. Visas obtained on arrival can be paid via the Travelex Foreign Exchange counter at the arrival hall where travelers can also exchange their foreign currency. There is a premium lounge, duty-free shops, food and beverage stalls, retail outlets, tourist information counter, ATMs, a Muslim prayer room, and a medical clinic.
Travelers arriving at Muscat International have limited options to get to the city. Private taxis can be hired right outside the arrivals hall. Rates to the more popular hotels in town are fixed and travelers pay for the cab ride at the taxi counter before getting in. Car rental companies are also available at the arrivals area. Another option is to have your booked hotel pick you up upon arrival.