Dublin: Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker expects expansion to start at Doha’s state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport (HIA) by the year-end.
“There is going to be an expansion of the airport to increase the capacity to over 70mn passengers,” al-Baker told Gulf Times on the side-lines of the 72nd IATA AGM at the Royal Dublin Society.
He said the expansion project at the HIA is in the design phase.
“The design will complete…hopefully by the year-end and the expansion should start,” al-Baker said.
Asked whether this expansion would be completed by 2022 in time for the FIFA World Cup, the Qatar Airways chief said, “Actually, our aim is to complete the expansion by 2020. Because of Qatar Airways’ growth, we are already beyond the capacity of the current airport. Last year, we served 32mn passengers and the capacity is 30mn.”
Al-Baker revealed that Hamad International Airport had seen a 23% growth on passenger numbers – in one year from 2014 to 2015.
He, however, refused to comment on the delay in receiving the Airbus A320neo for which Qatar Airways was booked to be the launch operator.
Hamad International Airport is an award-winning airport with services and facilities, which include Qatar Duty Free, a premium shopping emporium with more than 40,000 square metres of combined retail and dining with more than 70 boutiques and 30 cafés and restaurants.
HIA also boasts an airside hotel, two airside squash courts, a gym, a 25-metre swimming pool and spa, all within easy reach of the departure gates. The airport also features two runways with dual capacity, one of the largest free span maintenance hangars in the world, a cutting-edge two-storey cargo facility and one of the world’s largest self-contained catering facilities.
Hamad International Airport has been acknowledged as the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ by the 2016 Skytrax World Airport Awards for the second consecutive year at a ceremony that took place during the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Cologne, Germany recently.
At the same time, HIA became the first airport in the Middle East to enter the ‘World’s Top 10 Best Airports’ of the Skytrax World Airport Ranking.
Hamad International Airport also won the award for ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’.
The Skytrax World Airport Awards are the most prestigious recognition of quality for airports across the world.
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