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?