HIA preparing for 65 million passengers annually

The third phase of Hamad International Airport's development is due to start this year, with extensions to bring the facility to its full capacity of 65 million passengers annually

Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways (centre) Edward Plaisted, CEO Skytrax (left) and Badr Mohammed Al Meer COO of Hamad International Airport (HIA), during the press conference at HIA. (image: The Peninsula)
Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways (centre) Edward Plaisted, CEO Skytrax (left) and Badr Mohammed Al Meer COO of Hamad International Airport (HIA), during the press conference at HIA. (image: The Peninsula)

Hamad International Airport is gearing up to take 65 million passengers annually.

Akbar Al Baker, group chief executive of Qatar Airways, Qatar’s national carrier, said that expansion of Hamad International Airport (HIA) will start this year.

This development was unveiled during a press conference held to announce a major accomplishment earned by the HIA.

Al Baker revealed that the government has approved the expansion of the new airport and outlined that there is a new steering committee formulated under the chairmanship of H E Abdullah bin Nasser Turki Al Subae (chairman of Civil Aviation Authority), and that Al Baker is his deputy.

He added that this is in order to start the process of expanding HIA to take the ultimate capacity to over 65 million passengers annually.

“The expansion project will start during this year to be completed as soon as possible,” he added and said that the committee is anticipated to announce a public tender to internationally contracted parties, while the design for the expansion of the airport has already been completed.

Within three short years of operation, HIA has reaped world-class awards and recognition, including Skytrax Middle East’s Best Airport in 2015 and 2016, Skytrax Best Staff Service in the Middle East 2016 and previously Best Airport Award at the Future Travel Experience (FTE) Asia Awards in 2015.

The newly launched e-Gate system at immigration came under discussion and Al Baker pointed out that Qatar was among the few countries in the world to introduce the system first at Doha International Airport (DIA) nearly 10 years ago.

He noted however, that at the time people were adverse to using it for several reasons.

He continued that the new airport is much busier than the DIA and the e-Gates have been upgraded significantly.

“They are now much faster and more biometrics-friendly,” he explained and said that in addition, the cards are now free. And urged passenger to register for the new cutting-edge facility.

“The use of e-Gate will not only reduce levels of stress on the immigration but also make the entry into the country more user-friendly and efficient. And given its growing popularity among passengers, we will have to introduce more e-Gates eventually,” the official pointed out.

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