Doha, November 10 (QNA) – The 1st phase of the expansion of Hamad International Airport (HIA) was inaugurated on Thursday, which raises the Airports capacity to 58 million passengers annually.
Upon the completion of the 2nd phase, which is scheduled for the beginning of next year, the Airport will be able to receive more than 60 million passengers.
This large expansion is in line with the expected flow of visitors and fans. It will facilitate aircraft movement and air control, in conjunction with the requirements of operational intensity during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which is only a few days away. This will enhance the opportunities to meet the increasing demand for individual travel and air freight.
It is estimated that the 1st phase of the Airport expansion project includes linking the northern area and the new central area in the passenger terminal.
The passenger terminal’s total area that will be covered by the expansion will be around 240,000 square meters, which will be integrated within the existing building. Additionally, a new cargo building was constructed to increase its capacity to more than 5 million tons annually.
HIA’s expansion project is likely to add modern and sophisticated facilities, with more than 90 brands within one shopping area, a collection of art pieces created by artists from Qatar and around the world, as well as a natural environment thanks to green spaces and an 10,000 square meters indoor tropical garden that is linked to a water surface of 268 square meters, which will make it a major destination for all travelers.
In recent statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), HE Minister of Transport Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti explained that the expansion plan of HIA will enhance its position as a global center for travel, helping it achieve higher levels of excellence and development, as well as enhance travel experiences through it by upgrading operations, providing a unique experience for all visitors, and accommodating the growing network of the national carrier, Qatar Airways, to meet the requirements of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Data from the Civil Aviation Authority indicate that HIA recorded an increase in the number of passengers during September by 74.4 percent to more than 3.17 million passengers, compared to the same month of 2021. Aircraft movement at Hamad Airport increased by 13.6 percent to reach 17,660, compared to 15,551 in September 2021.
This year, HIA won the title of “Best Airport in the World” for the second year in a row after it ranked first in the Skytrax 2022 World Airport Awards, which was held on the sidelines of the Passenger Terminal Expo & Conference in Paris.
The rankings of the nominated airports were based on the vote of travelers around the world, and their satisfaction was measured through 39 key performance indicators for airport services and products such as check-in, arriving passengers, flight transfers, shopping, security, passports and departure lounges. HIA ranked first as the best airport in the world after a competition that compared it with 550 airports around the world.
In early September, HIA opened the Oryx Garden Hotel, the second airport hotel and the latest destination to receive passengers during their stopover flights in Doha. Its unveiling is in conjunction with the start of the upcoming World Cup.
As part of its constant endeavor to enhance the smart airport program, HIA launched an innovative Digital Twin initiative. This Digital Twin provides a real-time view of the airport through an intuitive 3D interface. Its powerful analytical engine integrates information from multiple airport systems to provide intelligent recommendations to help optimize operations.
This unique initiative combines 3D modeling techniques, data analytics, and Artificial Intelligence to deliver improved, faster and data-driven decision-making.
The Digital Twin technology manages aircraft stand conflicts, enables effective responses to alerts, and monitors the health of critical airport assets. Additionally, it effectively utilizes the right data at the right time to allow the optimization of resources to minimize asset downtime.
During the 2022 World Cup, it is scheduled that air traffic will reach more than 1,600 air traffic per day and the safety rates in Qatars air traffic will reach 100 percent. The air navigation system has been provided with a large number of modern devices to keep pace with the expected traffic increase of the World Cup.
Earlier this year, the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) announced that it expects to double the number of passengers to its airports in 2022, up to 36 million passengers due to the World Cup.
The authority stated that it has set two tracks for passenger traffic forecasts during the current year, one of which is moderate, with 34 million passengers throughout 2022, a growth of 90 percent from 2021, and the second is more positive, with the number of passengers expected to reach 36 million people in 2022, a growth of 105 percent over 2021.
The authority expects the number of passenger flights through Hamad and Doha International Airports during the World Cup to be 28,000 regular and chartered flights from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18, 2022.
HIA’s main priority is to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for its passengers and maintain the excellence of its services while reducing waiting time at all touch points across the airport and keeping pace with the latest technologies, techniques, and automation.