Carrier: Oman Air (WY)
Flight Number: WY 932
Route: Khasab (KHS) – Muscat (MCT)
Duration: 0h 45m
Aircraft: Embraer E-175
Cabin Class: Economy Class
Seat Number: 9B
Khasab is an interesting part of the Sultanate of Oman, as it’s located within the Musandam Governorate, and separated from the rest of Oman by the UAE. This is an incredible spot, and is only a short drive from Dubai, making it a perfect day-trip or 2 night retreat. The peninsula sticks out into the Strait of Hormuz, and there are spectacular cruises and mountain safaris that really make the place seem other-worldly. If you ever have a spare day in Dubai, it’s certainly worth the trip. Khasab Tours provide an excellent service at very reasonable prices.
Due to the small population, there is only one regularly scheduled commercial flight into and out of the city each day, operated by Oman Air to and from Muscat, the nation’s capital. The airport, interestingly, is actually a military controlled air base, and is not your usual civilian airfield. It’s the only airstrip in the Governorate, so it’s almost always used for military operations. Whilst photos were strictly prohibited, there was a small and dingy check-in area and holding room where passengers were kept until just before boarding. We were let into the boarding area a short while later and cleared security (manned by army officers, of course). Here we had a view of the tarmac, and it was astounding to see several air force jets performing low passes and touch-and-gos right before our eyes. It felt like being at an airshow!
Boarding commenced, and passengers had to take a long walk across the hot tarmac to reach the aircraft. Interestingly, in the terminal, boarding was not completed electronically. Rather, an agent manually looked through a list of names and ticked off passengers to board them. Very secure…
The E-175 is small, in just a 2-2 configuration. Interestingly, though, there is ample legroom and the cabin feels comfortable and spacious. This aircraft even had IFE!
We pushed back and departed about an hour late in the end, but were treated to amazing views of the Governorate before heading towards Muscat. With a short flight time of 45 minutes, the crew served just a bottle of juice to every passenger, more than enough for the trip.
After landing, we taxied to a remote bay, and this is where the experience lost its efficiency. As we pulled in, no ground staff were in sight, and it was clear this was going to take a while. After waiting for a very long period, the stair were finally connected, but no bus was in sight. A while later, a large bus (more than capable of holding all passenger) showed up, but only accepted the two Business Class passengers. It was another 20 minutes or so before it returned to collect the rest of the passengers. We honestly spent more time on the ground in Muscat than we did in the air from Khasab. Probably the most poorly executed ground operation I have seen recently. Given, though, Muscat is currently a remote-bay-only airport. The new terminal is nearing the end of its construction, and shares a similar design to Hong Kong, with high ceilings and airbridges. At the moment, though, the old airport continues to be used, and airbridges are non-existent.