Both Hamad International Airport (HIA) and Doha International Airport are intensifying their preparations for welcoming the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fans. The airports are currently witnessing flight influx coming from all over the world to watch the matches of the tournament that will kick off tomorrow.
HIA Chief Operating Officer Eng Badr Mohamed al-Meer confirmed the full readiness of the two airports to receive the influx of visitors and fans of the World Cup.
In his exclusive remarks to Qatar News Agency (QNA), al-Meer said that the readiness of the two international airports is a result of the early planning to overcome any challenges that might face both airports while receiving air flights during the tournament.
He said that with flight numbers increasing, the air traffic in both airports has now reached about 90 take-offs and landings per hour.
The Acting Director of Air Transport and Airport Affairs Department at the Civil Aviation Authority (QCCA), Mohamed Faleh al-Hajri, stressed that the civil aviation system is ready to deal with the expected vast increase in air traffic that Qatar is going to witness during the World Cup.
In his remarks to QNA, al-Hajri ruled out that the coming period will witness any stumbles with the expected congestion in Qatar's airspace, given the early preparations taken by the state and the concerned authorities to handle the anticipated congestion and at the same time to avoid any complications caused by that congestion.
Al-Hajri said that the past period witnessed extensive preparations that took years and that the authority's Air Navigation Department has completed its preparations with the start of the first phase of the Doha flight information region (FIR/SSR) through which the QCCA will manage air navigation and provide navigational assistance throughout Qatar's airspace.
In a related context, he pointed out that the upgraded airspace project has been completed, which included several improvements that will lead to greater efficiency in air traffic management.
He explained that through the air traffic development project, the capacity was increased to about 100 air traffic per hour, adding that the upcoming and outgoing air routes to Qatar became 17 separate paths, in order to achieve further movement flow and ensure further safety, as well as increase the aircraft holding areas in air, which are used during peak periods to arrange aircraft during landing, in preparation for the expected increase in traffic during the World Cup.
Al-Hajri noted that the efficiency of take-off and landing operations has increased, adding that the possibility of accommodating three landings and take-offs (simultaneously) has been reached, and an experiment was successfully conducted in the air traffic control simulator to ensure the effectiveness and safety of this system for operation.
He pointed out that an air traffic flow management device, the first of its kind in the Middle East, was installed.
Air traffic controllers and all employees dealing with it were trained to use it efficiently, which helps controllers in arranging the arrival and departure of planes to and from Doha.
Additionally, neighboring countries have been provided with a website about the hours of departure from their countries, called SLOT Departure Time, which also contributes to the regularity of air traffic at peak times in preparation for this important event to ensure the provision of highly efficient and distinguished services that fit with the requirements of this major event, which will be an important milestone in the history of the entire region.
He said that aircraft' air holding patterns were increased to increase the capacity for take-off and landing operations during the World Cup.
Also, comprehensive development operations such as adopting advanced technologies and modern equipment, increasing the number of air observers, developing the working mechanism, and others have been carried out to provide safety and create a secured and efficient air traffic status.
Al-Hajri promised a unique travel experience for visitors and fans of the World Cup that reflects the levels of distinguished services provided by the civil aviation system in the country.
He said the virtual tower, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East, allows Qatar air control centre at HIA to monitor blind spots, which improves daily air traffic. It also enables the air traffic controller to fully control and monitor the traffic of aircraft and vehicles remotely.
Qatar successfully activated the virtual tower during the first week of September.
Al-Hajri stressed that this activation marks the beginning of a very important stage for the civil aviation industry in Qatar, during which the sector will witness remarkable development and progress.
He said that the authority has completed the final stages of preparations and training, and has held many meetings and co-ordination with all relevant authorities, to ensure the readiness of the civil aviation system and the integration of its activities, and to prepare for that important period in which Qatar will witness large numbers of passengers, and unprecedented air traffic to ensure the safety of all flights, and to provide smoothness and great flexibility in air traffic during the World Cup period.
Al-Hajri indicated that the authority's air navigation department has completed developing and testing the alternative operational emergency plans to ensure that no confusion occurs in air traffic management during the championship, indicating that all these efforts come within a framework to provide a unique travel experience for visitors, and to show the whole world the great development Qatar is witnessing in the civil aviation sector.
HIA officially unveiled its expansion project, enriching passengers experiences and transforming it into an extraordinary destination where any journey is worthwhile. The airport now has a capacity to welcome 58mn passengers a year offering global travelers the best services the industry has to offer.
Through the expansion, the airport upgraded its facilities and offerings creating the ultimate destination for passengers. From world-class services to endless F&B and retail offerings, the expansion further strengthens its status as the best airport in the world.
The airport's expanded operations will greatly reduce waiting time, thanks to the new transfer hall on concourse C (Transfer Hall C) the level of security, customer service and efficiency will allow passengers to smoothly arrive and depart the award-winning airport.
As part of the overall expansion, HIA has launched the second airport hotel within its transfer area, the Oryx Garden Hotel.
Located in the north plaza, the 100-room hotel focuses on sustainability, with rooms ranging from king to twin, as well as suites strategically located moments away from the boarding gates.
As part of the expansion project, HIA has four brand-new lounges for passengers to relax and unwind, namely the Al Mourjan Business Lounge The Garden; Gold and Platinum lounge; Oryx Lounge and Al Maha Lounge.