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Selection process underway for duty free services operator for Muscat airport

The development of the New Muscat International Airport, though two years behind schedule, is making progress with the Oman Airports Management Company (OMAC) reviewing bids for operators of the airport's duty free and luxury retail services. The $1.8bn airport is expected to begin operation by the end of 2016.

Selection process underway for duty free services operator for Muscat airport

The Oman Airports Management Company (OMAC) has recently accepted bids from retailers and food and beverage operators for "duty free services and luxury retail" at the New Muscat International Airport.

Interested companies submitted their bids for review between 1st and 8th July 2015. At the start of the tender process, a spokesperson for OAMC explained the reasons and rationale behind this project stating:

"In response to Oman's rapid economic growth, the state is constructing a new airport located in the nation's capital. With year-on-year growth the airport is set to establish itself as one of the premium destinations in the Gulf."

Arguably, one of the top guilty pleasures of most holidaymakers is the duty free shopping experience making this one of the most important assets of any airport. Officials at OMAC will undoubtedly be keen for the new airport to be home to some of the world's top luxury brands.

Retail research agency and consultancy firm Conlumino recently released their "Airport Retail Survey and Luxury Trends 2015-2016" report. Among the key findings of that study are the fact that competitive prices combined with the availability of luxury brands at discounted prices were among the key pull factors for holidaymakers making purchases at airport retail outlets.

Notably, up to 92 per cent of all travellers surveyed stated that they intend to buy Dior products at an airport retail outlet over the course of the next year.

The successful bidder for the duty free and luxury retail package at the New Muscat International Airport will be granted permission to operate in a space of up to 5,320sq m where travellers to Oman can purchase products such as luxury fashion and accessories, watches, toys, gourmet foods and confectionery.

The $1.8bn New Muscat International Airport, currently scheduled to begin operations by the end of 2016, is expecting a capacity of 16,195,637 in 2020 and there are further development plans to increase the airports annual capacity to up to 48m as and when the projected demand requires it.

A consortium of companies made up of Bechtel, Enka and Bhwan Engineering is constructing the New Muscat International Airport. Key features will include 96 check-in counters, 29 passenger-boarding bridges and a 90 room airside hotel.

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