A new airport in Oman and a new concourse at LaGuardia lead this week’s air travel news.
This week Oman celebrated the official grand opening of the new Muscat International Airport, a development that Oman Aviation Group will play a major role in transforming the destination into an important traffic hub in the Middle East. The new airport has a capacity of 20 million passengers per year, with an expansion potential for 56 million. It can handle 40 flights per hour, and it has a new, wide runway that can accommodate widebody Airbus 380 and Boeing 747 aircraft. The Sultanate of Oman is also developing new airports in Salalah and Duqm, as well as building modern highways to connect interior destinations and modernizing its transportation and hospitality infrastructure.
In other airport news, this week American Airlines opened its new concourse at LaGuardia’s Terminal B in New York City, officially beginning to operate flights as of December 1. The construction of the new concourse is the first step in the reimagining of Terminal B, where American has exclusively operated since December 2017. The $5.1 billion transformation of the rest of Terminal B is scheduled for completion in 2022. The new concourse has a number of additional amenities, plus retailers such as FAO Schwarz, Shake Shack, and M∙A∙C. Over the next few years, two new concourses featuring 35 gates will be built at Terminal B. The two concourses will be connected to the main terminal by dual pedestrian bridges spanning an active taxiway, allowing customers and aircraft to move about seamlessly. The project includes a new 840,000-square-foot main terminal with soaring ceilings and corridors filled with natural light.
Also this week, American announced plans to introduce its premium A321T aircraft to transcontinental service between Los Angeles and Boston as of April 2, 2019. The twice-daily service will offer passengers a three-class aircraft, with fully lie-flat seats, a chef curated menu, premium wines and amenity kits in Flagship First and Flagship Business class, as well as power at every seat, high-speed Wi-Fi and seatback entertainment in the Main Cabin.
American also announced a plan to strengthen its partnership with China Southern Airlines by expanding codeshare cooperation and launching reciprocal frequent flyer benefits and lounge access. American will place its AA code on flights to a number of additional cities from Beijing and Shanghai, bringing its total to 20 cities in China beyond those two points of entry, while China Southern Airlines will place its CZ code on additional flights beyond Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York - JFK.
In low-cost carrier news, this week Norwegian announced the launch of two more nonstop routes to Europe out of Boston Logan starting net summer, as well as a move of its existing London service from Fort Lauderdale to Miami and from Oakland to San Francisco. The airline will launch new, four times weekly service from Boston to Rome on March 31, 2019, and three times weekly service to Madrid on May 2, 2019. The move of the two London routes will take place starting March 31, 2019.
Finally, in aircraft news, this week Cayman Airways took formal delivery of its new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, marking the first such aircraft in the Caribbean. As part of its fleet modernization plan, Cayman Airways is replacing its four 737-300 aircraft with the MAX 8, offering 30 percent more seating capacity while achieving up to 30 percent savings in fuel costs.