A further tender is to be issued inviting international and local firms to build airfield infrastructure facilities, including the runway and taxiway.

The Omani Transport and Communications Ministry, which has issued the tender, says it expects work to begin on the site by early next year at the latest.

The airport will target domestic travellers, but is designed to international specifications. Runways and terminals will be able to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo.

A third construction package to design and build the airport’s passenger and cargo terminals will follow. These buildings will initially be designed with capacity for 500,000 passengers and 100,000 tonnes of cargo a year.