Doha's $15.5bn new airport opens
Doha, April 30, 2014
The much-delayed Doha's new $15.5 billion Hamad International Airport (HIA) today welcomed arriving passengers for the first time to the world’s newest aviation hub.
A Qatar Airways flight was the first to officially land on the East Runway. The flight carried the Minister of Transport, the board members of the Steering Committee of NDIA and other delegates and received a water salute by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority Rescue Fire Fighting Services.
A flydubai flight from Dubai was the first passenger flight to land at the airport.
Starting today, 10 carriers commenced operations out of the new passenger terminal at HIA, with the remaining carriers, including national carrier Qatar Airways, expected to move to the new airport by May 27, a press conference was told.
The press conference, held to mark the soft launch of the airport, was attended by Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport, and members of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) Steering Committee.
“HIA is a world-class aviation hub purpose-built to cater to rapidly evolving aviation and passenger needs of the 21st century,” said Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi, chairman of the NDIA Steering Committee. “In fact, its capacity on opening day will be 30 million annual passengers, which is more than the initial plan. Initial capacity was expanded to accommodate the increased transit growth in Qatar over the course of the past decade,” he added.
HIA and Airport City (together comprising the NDIA project) span 29 sq km, 60 per cent on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf.
The project includes 100 buildings for various uses. The passenger terminal features a massive internal area of 600,000 sq m and has 3 concourses and 33 contact gates, which will subsequently be increased to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the A380, in the final build-out.
Once fully open, the terminal also features 16 lounges, 26 art installations, more than 100 F&B and retail outlets, a transit hotel, a swimming pool, a luxury spa, squash courts and a four-storey catering facility that is one of the largest in the world. The on-site public mosque can accommodate 500 worshippers at prayer time.
“The launch of the new airport represents the fulfilment of the longstanding vision of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir, which was brought to fruition by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar,” said Al-Noaimi. “HIA will be a source of pride and joy for all people of Qatar for many decades to come. It will deliver a memorable experience to all passengers that will travel through its gates; an experience that reflects Qatar's status and importance on the world travel and tourism map.”
The new airport was originally due to open in 2012 but the project was slowed by delays among construction firms and quality and cost issues, building industry sources said.
Qatar's current airport, Doha International, handled 23.3 million passengers last year, according to its website. Officials have said Hamad International will ultimately be able to handle 50 million passengers and 2 million tonnes of cargo annually.
Fast-growing flag carrier Qatar Airways, which has expanded to a fleet of 116 aircraft since its launch 15 years ago, had earlier said Doha's old airport had reached capacity and the delay in moving to the new facility was hindering its expansion plans. - TradeArabia News Service