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Masna'ah / Al-Masanah / Al Musnana / Musnanah
2337'04"N 05747'27"E

The transfer of Seeb International Airport to private-sector management signalled the end of the airport's role as a base for the Royal Air Force of Oman. As of early-2002 Oman's Air Force was in search of new facilities, and contractors were bidding for the contract to build one of the first of these air bases at Al-Masanah [Masana], northwest of Muscat. Oman's Defence Ministry is also evaluating a further two airbase projects in the sultanate following the privatisation of Seeb International Airport.

The various placenames publicy associated with this facility are un-attested by the NIMA gazetteer, and apparently refer to the coastal town of Masna'ah [aka Masnaah], located at 2346'41"N 05738'39"E.

Completion of the project, which was first proposed a decade ago, was expected within 18 months of a contract award. The base would belong to the Sultanate of Oman. The Omani air force would transfer its assets from an Seeb Airport to Musnana, and Seeb would be expanded to handle international civilian traffic. Oman has worked with the US Air Force to ensure the base is built to American standards and can be used by American warplanes without further upgrades.

In April 2002, it was reported tha Oman had allocated land for the construction of an air base for use by US combat aircraft. The base would reportedly be located at Al Musnana [Musnanah], 120 kilometers [about 80 miles] west of the capital Muscat.

The United States is funding construction of the $120 million air base. The facility, with a 4.3-kilometer runway, would be able to handle advanced fighter jets, military cargo aircraft and bombers, and would provide air command and control facilities.

In May 2002, five groups submitted bids for the contract to design and build a new military airbase at Al-Masanah for the Royal Omani Air Force. Bidders included: Bechtel of the US; Athens-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P - Overseas) with the UK's Mott MacDonald; John Laing with Jacobs Gibb, both of the UK; and the local/UK Tarmac Alawi with US' Rockwell Automation. The UK's Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick had already drawn up the initial designs for the base. [SOURCE: Middle East Economic Digest, May 24, 2002].

In early July 2002 revised offers were received for the contract to design and build a military airbase at Al-Masanah for the Royal Omani Air Force (ROAF). The call for revised bids followed the client's decision to reduce the scope of works for the airbase. The original plan called for the construction of a 4.6 kilometer runway, heliport, aircraft and helicopter hangars, and township accommodation for military personnel. Under the revised scope of work, the selected contractor will only build heliport facilities and associated barrack and civil infrastructure. Total project costs were reduced from an estimated $150 million to about $60 million [SOURCE: Middle East Economic Digest, July 5, 2002].

The Batinah runs from the frontier with the UAE for a distance of some 270 kilometres south-east almost to Muscat. It is situated between the coast and the Western Hajar, varying from 10 to 30 kilometers wide. Cultivation is limited to a narrow coastal strip, seldom wider than three kilometers. The Batinah is one of the most populous areas in Oman; the main towns are: Barka, Masana'a, Suwaiq, Khaboura, Saham, Sohar, Liwa and Shinas.



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