The cost of Oman's new 'security tax' will be passed on to passengers
The new total charges will bring in more than OMR100m annually, if passenger numbers remain at similar levels. (File photo)
Everyone flying out of Oman by air will soon have to pay more per ticket, according to airport management.
New charges will kick in at all airports in the Sultanate on January 1 and will be added to the cost of a ticket. The new OMR1 charge per international passenger will apply to everyone buying an air ticket including those transferring through, but domestic passengers will be unaffected.
The new OMR1 charge per passenger will take additional charges per ticket from OMR10 to OMR11. The extra rial per head is expected to rake in an extra OMR10 million in annual revenue for Oman’s airports.
Given international passenger numbers for 2015, the new total charges figure of OMR11 will bring in more than OMR100m annually, if passenger numbers remain at similar levels.
The Oman airport tax was recently increased from OMR 8 to OMR10 in 2016. “This came into effect from March 15, 2016 for travel on and after July 1, 2016,” a travel agent said.
Passengers, however, are not happy. “The airport tax was raised in 2016 and then again they are raising it in 2017. It will take a toll on frequent fliers,” S Kumar, an Indian expat who makes at least two international trips in a week, said.
A circular from the Oman Airports Management Company states: “The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) has instructed OAMC to collect “security fee” on its behalf from the airlines using the airports in Oman.
“According to PACA, the authority had advised the airlines operating to Muscat and Salalah through IATA in 2015 and held consultations with the airline representatives in 2016 about the introduction of security fee.
“Therefore, OAMC will start collecting the security fees from January 1, 2017 and will start invoicing the above fee from February 2017.”
The circular was issued by Samer Ahmed Al Nabhani, GM Commercial Operation, OAMC.
The circular added that all departing international and each transfer passenger will have to pay OMR 1 as security fee.
“The security fee is also applicable per 200 kilograms or part thereof of outbound international freight of OMR 1,” it added.
Infants under the age of 2 years, aircraft crew on duty travel in uniform with valid airline ID cards and domestic departing passengers are exempted from the new security fee.
“OAMC is determined to serve the airline customers at its best and strives to provide a safe and secure environment at our airports. Also please know that we are constantly seeking ways to enable airlines to achieve better economic performance.
“You will agree that our recent selection of the second ground handling service provider has already led to the significant drop in the ground handling charges which is a major contributor to the cost of airlines at an airport,” the circular noted.
Other airline officials said that the increased amount will be included in the air ticket itself. “It will be updated in the systems soon,” an official of a leading airline said. In 2015, Muscat International Airport saw 9,383,576 international passengers while Salalah airport witnessed 334,370 international passengers, according to the NCSI.
Statistics shows that all the airports in Oman registered an increase in total passenger numbers as of November-end, 2016. Muscat International Airport recorded a 17 per cent increase in the number of passengers from the beginning of the year until the end of November 2016.
Of these, 10,925,795 passengers passed through the airport, compared to 9,321,617 passengers during the same period last year, according to data with the Oman Airports Management Company.
In November alone, 979,731 passengers passed through the capital’s airport compared to 854,644, reflecting a 15 per cent increase.
By Rahul Das
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