Qatar’s state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport (HIA) celebrated its 5th year of operations on Monday by organising a parade in the terminal to thank the passengers for their contribution and support towards the rapid growth of the airport.
“HIA has redefined the airport experience around the globe for over 170mn passengers to date,” chief operating officer engineer Badr Mohamed al-Meer commented on the occasion.
“We are committed more than ever to provide our passengers with unmatched five-star services and strive to grow together with their continuous support and loyalty,” he asserted.
HIA, which started its operation on May 27, 2014 by an inaugural flight from Qatar's national airline, Qatar Airways, has become one of the fastest growing hubs in the world.
Within five years of operations, HIA has started the second phase of its terminal expansion plans to accommodate 53mn passengers annually at the airport by 2022.
HIA will see the construction of an Airport City which will provide significant future investment opportunities, including a free trade zone, an office and business complex, and hotels among others.
After the successful completion of the first major phase of its Smart Airport programme in 2018, HIA enabled Qatar Airways to process more than 25% of its passengers using self-service check-in and bag-drop facilities. This was accomplished by commissioning 62 next-generation self-service check-in kiosks and 12 self-service bag drops spread across the departures check-in hall. A first of its kind in any major airport worldwide, mobile Automated Visa Document Check has also been implemented in the five-star terminal to enable ground services agents to check passengers visa documentation.
As reported in these columns on Monday, HIA is now launching the second phase of its innovative Smart Airport programme through facial biometric recognition across all key passenger touch points. Currently under trial, the system is a central piece of the airport’s digital strategy and combines passengers’ flight, passport, and facial biometric information in a single electronic record at the self-check-in kiosk or mobile app.
HIA is also maintaining its ISO/IEC 20000 certification, provided to entities with the highest global standard for IT Service Management. The airport is also amongst few in the world exploring the potential use of augmented reality and virtual reality for various operations.
After only two years of operations, HIA has joined the chart of the top 10 Best Airports in the World by Skytrax in early 2016. The Doha hub was classified as the first Middle East airport to be listed amongst the world’s most advanced airports.
HIA was then ranked as the ‘6th Best Airport in the World’ in 2017. Last year, HIA made its way to join the 5 best airports in the world after being ranked ‘5th Best Airport in the World’.
Recently, HIA was ranked the ‘4th Best Airport in the World’ at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2019. HIA has also been named as a five-star airport and was honoured with the title of ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fourth year in a row in 2019.
HIA has established itself as a destination on its own in the world map for art and culture. The airport is home to a considerable range of art work that spans across artistic media including paintings, sculptures, electronic and interactive installations from both local and internationally renowned artists.
The airport’s newest installations include ‘SMALL LIE’ by world renowned American artist and designer KAWS and French artist, Jean-Michel Othoniel’s installation of ‘Cosmos’. The art commissioned in the airport is installed in collaboration with the local museum authority, Qatar Museums. HIA houses more than 20 permanent art pieces.
HIA offers endless shopping and dining, entertainment nodes, and relaxation facilities all housed in one expansive terminal. HIA’s award-winning partner Qatar Duty Free composes of 90 shops, 30 cafes and restaurants, spread out over 40,000sqm of combined retail, food and beverage facilities.
HIA’s passenger terminal complex also boasts 12 lounges across the terminal and an airport hotel, featuring a Vitality Well-being & Fitness Centre, responding to the diverse needs of the modern traveller.
Qatar’s five-star airport has received numerous recognitions from Skytrax World Airport awards for its state-of-the-art terminal and facilities. These include the ‘5th World's Best Airport Dining’ and ‘4th Best Airport Shopping’ in 2018. HIA has also been named ‘9th World's Cleanest Airport’ and the world’s ‘3rd Best Airport Leisure Amenities ‘.
New cargo terminal
HIA will also see the construction of a new cargo terminal. This will increase the capacity handled to 3mn tonnes per year and help accommodate the expected surge in freight traffic. Construction of the expanded terminal is set to begin in the second half of 2019.
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