By Conrad Prabhu — MUSCAT — Eight local and international construction firms are competing for a contract to build a major In-Flight Catering Complex as part of the multibillion dollar expansion and modernisation of Muscat International Airport. The facility, along with a grandiose passenger terminal, high-tech baggage handling and people movement systems, state-of-the-art cargo terminal and aircraft hangars, and ultramodern air traffic management system, will position Muscat as a regional aviation hub of the future.
Overseeing the development of this ambitious undertaking is the Ministry of Transport and Communications, which expects to invest in excess of $5 billion in the modernisation of the Muscat and Salalah gateways. The contract for the In-Flight Catering Complex at Muscat is one of only two major contracts that are yet to be awarded from a list of 13 different main packages that together account for much of the civil works development of the two airport projects. Well-known Omani engineering consultancy firm Al Hatmy Engineering is the
Design and Construction Supervision Consultant for the In-Flight Catering Complex project. In the fray are Carillion Alawi, Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction, Strabag Oman, Bahwan Contracting Co, Larsen & Toubro (Oman), Muhibbah Engineering (Malaysia), Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) and Galfar Engineering & Contracting. Bids are due to be opened next week.
The complex is envisaged to be a dedicated catering facility designed and equipped to meet the highest international standards for in-flight catering services. The facility will be located just east of the new passenger terminal with direct airside road access to the passenger apron and landside access via the main approach road to the new airport.
Covering an area of roughly 26,000 sq metres, the facility will be large enough for the preparation of 24,000 meals per day, catering not only for the needs of national carrier Oman Air’s flights, but also other airlines operating out of Muscat International Airport. Also envisioned within the building are dedicated areas for product deliveries, storage, food preparation, dish washing, and garbage treatment and evacuation.
As with the existing in-flight catering facility, Oman Air will operate the new complex, it is learnt. Conceived as a ‘Green Building’, the new facility will be designed and built with sustainability in mind, with emphasis on the use of natural lighting, building mass to preserve energy, intelligent facades, integrated renewable energy devices and automated sun screening.
In line with the facility’s superior hygiene and environmental standards, special areas will be earmarked for the establishment of a microbial testing lab, wet and dry waste management storage and dumping facilities, training and presentation rooms, chilled storage for loaded trolleys, perishable food storage preparation and sterilisation facilities and environmental control and monitoring. A contract award is likely before the end of this year. Completion is targeted during the second half of 2014.