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Emirates is marking 20 years of service to Muscat today, having carried nearly 2.4 million passengers on the route since flights began on 1st July 1993.
Amongst the first to offer his congratulations was Finance Manager Sadiq Khaliq, Emirates’ longest serving Omani member of staff who joined dnata’s Finance department in 1969 before moving to Emirates when the airline was formed 16 years later.
“Twenty years of service to Muscat is a great achievement and I am pleased that Emirates has gradually developed this route,” said Mr Khaliq. “Unfortunately, I don’t fly much anymore, I used to travel a lot to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, India and Egypt.”
A total of 79 Omani staff are employed across the Emirates Group in a variety of roles, amongst them 15 cabin crew and eight pilots.
“To my surprise, I was the first Omani pilot to join Emirates in March 1995, said Airbus A380Captain, Saleh Alkharusi, who has proudly watched Emirates grow in the Omani capital.
“The Muscat sector is memorable to fly because you have the stunning Dubai coastline on departure, passing the Burj Khalifa, and then you’re met with the distinctive Oman coastline as you approach Muscat. Soon, the new terminal will open at Muscat International Airport, presenting further opportunities for Emirates,” Captain Alkharusi added.
The airline currently has two flights a day serving Muscat, normally operated with an Airbus A330-200 in a three class configuration, but sometimes upgraded to a larger Boeing 777, depending on demand.
Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President for the Gulf, Middle East & Iran, said the 20th anniversary is an important milestone for all those who have been involved with Muscat and the 2.39 million passengers who have travelled to and from Dubai.
“Oman has been a significant market for us and feeds key markets such as India, Morocco, the UK, Germany, North America, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia, all via our magnificent hub in Dubai.”
“When you think that Muscat was our 30th destination and we now have 134 routes, it demonstrates the extraordinary growth of the airline in a relatively short space of time,” added Sheikh Majid.
Muscat is also a valued destination for Emirates SkyCargo with large volumes of cargo being carried out of Muscat to markets in the Indian Ocean, Europe and Asia via the world-class Cargo Mega Terminal in Dubai.
“Popular commodities being shipped include perishables like fish and beans, in addition to perfumery products and oil exploration equipment,” said Saif Al Anboori, Emirates’ Cargo Manager for Oman.
Omani products feature prominently on board Emirates’ flights. The Delucia brand of sweet Thai chilli sauce comes from Oman, as do green and red peppers and sometimes the honey served to passengers.
The list doesn’t stop there; eggplant, spring onions, mint leaves, okra (gumbo), spinach, pumpkins, rocca leaves, bananas, methi (fenugreek) leaves, bitter gourd (melon) and zatar all hail from Oman.
Emirates Holidays, the airline’s tour operating arm has been offering tailor-made holidays in Oman since 1996, and has carried over 25,000 passengers to Dubai and beyond.
Oman remains a key source market in the GCC for Emirates Holidays. Some of the most popular holiday packages for travellers from Oman are for destinations such as Dubai, the Indian Ocean, Africa, the Far East and Europe.
A total of 34 Emirates’ staff support the Muscat office, which is led by Asma Al Rahma, Manager Oman.
EK867 departs Muscat at 0455hrs and gets into Dubai at 0555hrs. EK863 departs Muscat at 1055hrs and gets into Dubai at 1155hrs.