Monday, November 04, 2013
26

Last week I found myself at Muscat International Airport, like I do every month, for a day trip down to Salalah. With the advent of Oman Air's web-check in and boarding card printing service (dodgy that it is, it doesn't always seems to work), it means I don't need to be at the airport 90 minutes before departure, something that really helps when you're on a 7:40 flight to SLL (who really wants to get there at 6:10am anyway).

Now, parking has been ridiculous lately, with all the parking lot changes that have been made, and the large number of airport staff that are parking in the commercial parking lots for the customers of the airport. A quick look at the official website for the Muscat International Airport shows that there are indeed 5 parking lots available:

Parking Lot 1 - 827 spaces (long term) Max RO 2 per day
Parking Lot 2 - 288 spaces (short term) 500bz 1st hour then 500bz for each half hour
Parking Lot 3 - 613 spaces (long term) Max RO 2 per day
Parking Lot 4 - 33 spaces (shaded VIP) Max RO 10 per day
Parking Lot 5 - 396 spaces (Cargo area) 500bz 1st hour then 500bz for each half hour

So, basically the entire parking capacity for passengers (lets ignore cargo) is 1,761 spaces. In the year 2012, the airport moved 7,546,715 passengers, which on average is 20,676 people per day (source). So, with 1,761 spaces available, the airport was providing parking to about 8.5% of their daily passengers. That is already pretty low, but guess what OAMC have done now?

Yup, they took the single largest parking lot, and made it private for their own staff only. What. The. Fuck?

So, those 20,676 passengers per day now only have the option to park in 934 possible spaces (4.5% of passengers can now park).

Does OAMC know something we don't? Why on earth have they literally halved the available parking for the CUSTOMERS of the airport? You know what is the most irritating thing about this move... the "airport staff only" parking lot is always half empty!

Surely with this practically useless amount of available parking at the airport it could be argued that the airport is not providing enough parking (or transportation services) to adequately conduct it's business. Is there not some sort of Ministry that oversees businesses here and ensures that they are ethical and fairly run? OAMC have a monopoly on air travel and have basically said F- you to all of us that have no other choice but to use the airport.

It is simply unbelievable that an airport with as much passenger flow as it has is attempting to operate by offering parking to only 4.5% of its customers. Who do we complain to? What can we do about this ridiculousness?! Why don't the staff park in the Cargo terminal, or somewhere else?

le fin.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's probably to that taxi's can rake more business out of us! Which is crazy - why would I pay RO 10 each way for a taxi to the airport for a one/two-day trip?! The word 'frisked' comes to mind..

Anonymous said...

Fits perfectly in the act first think later mentality here.......

I wonder if the new Airport will have sufficient parking.

Anonymous said...

4.5% of customers is a bit misleading..

The most customers are workers / other immegrants coming in on mass (who do not have their own car - or will not pay to park), and incoming / outgoing holiday makers (who do not have a car).

Omanis almost always will have a family member who can drop them if they don't want to park.

That leaves western / rich expats who are either going on holiday, or business trips like yourself or myself..

Those people are the privileged few, and (whatever percentage of customers that is) there is always parking on a regular week.

On a public holiday - its a different matter. But then the smart ones will take a taxi for any trip over 4 days as it costs less than parking. (Not sure how they can be called 'unreliable' you get in and they go where you tell them to go).

Seem like this blog is turning into a personal moan.

Anonymous said...

and Anonymous - Who pays 10RO to get to the airport in a taxi??

You can get from Ruwi to the airport for 5RO each way as a white expat in a suit. As an Indian in work clothes you can probably half that..

Sythe said...

3rd Anon - When was the last time you went to the airport? Everyday there is no parking available, and yes I'm having a rant, why shouldn't I?

Anonymous said...

Take the new airport out of the equation- it wont be ready for at least another 5+ years the way it is going! Bechtel will be down to one worker and everyone in the country will have worked for Hill once!!

I also heard that Oman Air is going to have Omani only Q's as well and they will get priority over anyone else when checking-in and boarding.

1st Call: All Omanis holding a boarding pass please board now.

2nd Call: First class and business passengers

3rd call: Families with young children

4th call: Everyone else

Regradless, the flight will always be held up because several are lost in duty free trying to get a discount on a bottle Johnnie Walker.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you are surprised. Yet again no oversight and as per usual companies are allowed to do what ever they feel like. Pathetic

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with sythe. I got caught out having parked in parking 1 and then realising that the long term parking signs had been taken down. when I spoke to the attendant he said it's ok for now and I paid the long term rate when I got back.
There is no sense in their planning. Logically employee parking could be provided the other side of the highway and shuttles provided- but they haven't even considered this for passengers so it's not going to happen. While dropping off friends we may choose not to Park, but why would we hang around in our cars blocking the road when receiving people?

Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

Just another daft decision in Sunny Oman... what else is new?

So

1. OAMC says, "no place to park fool"

2. You go with your car and wait at the arrivals

3. Flashy ROP bloke comes over and says, "no barking here fool"

4. You go to OAMC parking.

Go to 1.


Enjoy Oman!

Anonymous said...

I go to the airport all the time.. I drive around for 5 minutes, I park, i fly. OR.. I flag a taxi ask if he can dome to my place at whatever time, and pay him 5RO, i ride, I fly. No big deal.

When I'm in the UK, i pay 10 times more for a taxi, or 10 times more to park 5 miles from the airport and to get a shuttle bus. They them move my car while I'm away so you can't find it when you return!

sure..In an ideal world there would be more spaces in Muscat, but in reality I pretty much get to park 50M away from the entrance every time I stay, and the prices arent that bad in comparison.

PS - i think negativity without objectivity comes across as moaning for moanings sake.

ynotoman said...

i usually find a place at the back of the short term - as its only for short term - but long term is bad. However better parking might have been one of the items on their strike list and must be an issue for employees in all organisations dealing with customer flow

Anonymous said...

It gets on my wick that everything gets turned in to "welcome to Oman", "enjoy Oman" etc...
Isn't OAMC part of a consortium of companies including the British Airport Authority (BAA), the same company that gets lambasted by UK media every time there is a sprinkling of snow and flights are cancelled due to them being unable to clear the runways as they haven't the equipment to do it?

I've worked at the airport and would have to drive around for 20 minutes at a time looking for parking - that was ten years ago, the last time I traveled as a passenger I had to park on the pavement.

Shouldn't the "experts" be offering a solution e.g. busing staff to the airport from a large car park - there is plenty of land next to the Oman Air building and the Automobile Club.

But the "experts" wont because they don't care, are yes men, that are no actually interested in progress, only filling their pockets for the next 15 years (roughly what remains of their contract) and then buggering off...

Welcome to how things are done in Oman 'cause that's how we've been taught :-)

Anonymous said...

Just to note, as an expat who has used taxi's both to and from the airport several times there are a list of prices if you are getting a taxi from the airport.

For example Al Khuwair is 5 rials. 7 Rials for Bowshar. There is no way you are getting to ruwi for the same price as to Al Khuwair so 10 rials is probably not far off.

If you arrange transport to the airport you're likely to pay slightly less. I was lucky to mostly pay 5 rials from Al Khuwair area, it would have been double that from Ruwi, I know, I've got friends that have done it.

Yes a good point was made that sometimes a large number of immigrants are coming in and they don't have their own cars. They still come in taxi's etc, maybe this is why the airport taxi's are always saying they can't get through or out to pick people up or take them easily.

I think they need an airport taxi only lane at the airport to help with this issue, but that's another story!

To try to make out that there isn't a fair point being made is ridiculous. I had to take my car to the airport once and park it, I decided I would be better off doing that as I don't live centrally now and taxi's aren't just outside my door. I parked in the long stay car park and when I returned there were cars parked not just in spaces, or on the curbs, or on the raised pavement parts, but also blocking people in right behind their cars. I was fortunate that actually the person blocking me in by chance was on a plane only 1 hour after mine, as the airport staff had no idea how to pluck all the extra cars out of the way so I could retrieve my car.

More spaces are needed, and if he wants to have a moan it's his right. It's a blog page, and although the information is useful a lot of times no one comments when useful information goes up, but the second he says what he personally feels there's criticism! If you don't like what he writes then don't read it.

Anonymous said...

I arrived at 3am to check in for an international flight, hoping to leave my car in the long term park, only to find as you described, PLUS the car park that was for overnight parking was full and double parked inside and the barrier was not even operating because it was saying full. So I pulled into the short term park and told them. They offered to manually open the barrier for me - but to park where exactly?? and no guarantee I wouldn't be blocked in by my return. By this stage after driving round several times I was in danger of missing my flight check in, so I insisted I would leave it in short term and collect it in 5 days. Sure enough 5 days later I went to the booth in short term and paid a nominal cash fee, (ie not short term rates) they processed my ticket and let me go. But I agree it's a crazy situation especially as the staff only park is hardly used. They could at least section off some for staff and open the rest of it again for overnight parking.

Anonymous said...

sorry kept getting a message saying it hadn't been posted - then see its here 3 times, please delete !!

Kate said...

So that also means that of the reduced number of spaces remaining, the double parking and blocking other cars in when you leave the country for a few days will surely increase...

The last time I tried to park, most 'through routes' were blocked by cars just parking wherever they wanted - most cars blocked, which then incurs an extra fee for those who are not able to get their car out...

I enjoyed the fun experience of attempting to get through the maze of one car park, only to be blocked left, right and centre, spending most of the time in reverse, not getting a space at all, nearly missing my flight and having to spend money to get out eventually as I had been there long enough for the ticket to have accrued a charge.

Fun times !

Anonymous said...

My husband and I missed a flight due to the time it took to find a park. (Thankfully it was only to Salalah). It can be a nightmare trying to find a park.
One solution is a carpark building, but it may take too long to build. So another solution could be: there is a lot of desolated land in fairly close vicinity to the airport. A carpark could be created in this space, with buses ferrying customers to the airport for a reasonable price. Inshallah! :)

Anonymous said...

The parking situation is very bad. I would recommend people take taxi. Yes the parking is fairly cheap, but there are just not enough spaces. I think your assessment of the situation pretty accurate. Those that find your fault with your comments probably either live close to airport or have been lucky with parking. A taxi from the MQ costs 8 rials. Its not just rich expats who use the parking lot I have seen Omanis use it as well

Anonymous said...

Just because the parking situation at the airport isn't one of Oman larger problems doesn't mean it should be ignored. Especially considering the solution isn't that complicated. Set a parking lot nearby and have a shuttle.

Couldn't disagree more with these two comments.

Seem like this blog is turning into a personal moan.

PS - i think negativity without objectivity comes across as moaning for moanings sake.

Anonymous said...

OAMC is run by incompetent people , who only care about themselves. the company is run by managers that think they know it all . look at muscat so called international airport and compare it with dubai. as long as the same incompetent people are running the show in oman , oman will never reach dubais standard in anything.

Anonymous said...

the airport is run by the incompetent oamc , people with no experience in airports and they are the same people that would run the state of the art new airport . OAMC are run by a managers that seem to know it all and when they have no clue whats going on . all of em are selfish and incompetent managers. compare the airport in dubai and the standard in dubai in general to oman . As long as oman is run by the same senile lobby of old school friends it will never develop and reach the standards of dubai and qatar or any other world city.

Anonymous said...

Oman is run by generally senile lobbies of old school friends and family members- why would OAMC be any different?!

notablogger\ said...

I know exactly what you mean ! I nearly missed my flight looking for a spot.Then there are the people who have abandoned their cars in the middle of the bloody lot after theyve given up searching.Its always a massive pain in the ass.

MaK said...

Sounds like 1st world problems. Some people can't find food while others mad about not finding a parking space :/

Sohaib Ahmed said...

I've worked at the airport and would have to drive around for 20 minutes at a time looking for parking - that was ten years ago, the last time I traveled as a passenger I had to park on the pavement.
Meet and Greet parking is a best solution of parking problems.

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