Hamad International Airport (HIA) served a record 38,786,422 passengers in 2019, the most since its start of operations in 2014, it was announced Sunday.
In addition to being HIA’s "most successful year yet", 2019 also showed a year-on-year growth of 12.44% compared to passenger numbers in 2018, according to a statement.
Eight new passenger destinations were added to HIA’s global network in 2019: Davao, the Philippines; Rabat, Morocco; Izmir, Turkey; Gaborone, Botswana; Langkawi, Malaysia; Mogadishu, Somalia; Malta; and Lisbon, Portugal.
Three new cargo destinations were also added to HIA’s network - Istanbul, New York and Almaty.
Fifteen airlines operating at HIA increased their weekly flight frequencies, including Kuwait Airways, Salam Air, Philippine Airlines, Oman Air and Air India Express. HIA also welcomed two new airline partners, namely Air India and Tarco Aviation. This led to HIA handling a total of 232,917 aircraft movements in 2019, which was 5.57% more than the previous year.
Badr Mohamed al-Meer, chief operating officer at Hamad International Airport, said: “2019 has been a spectacular year for HIA, having broken our record for the most number of passengers ever served since commencing our operations. It was also an exciting year for the airport as the gateway to some of the world’s biggest sporting events, including the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 and FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019, which were successfully hosted by Qatar.
"Looking ahead, we’re focused on increasing our operational capacity through our major airport expansion project, which is a vital part of the airport's rapid growth and the country’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup and beyond.”
HIA announced its multi-phased airport expansion plan in 2019. Phase A of the expansion is set to comprise a central concourse linking concourses D and E, and will increase the airport’s capacity to more than 53mn passengers annually by 2022.
Phase B, which will be completed after 2022, will extend concourses D and E to further enhance the airport’s capacity to more than 60mn passengers annually.
The expansion project will also feature a 10,000sqm indoor tropical garden, a 268sqm water feature, 11,720sqm of landscaped retail and F&B space and 9,000sqm of world-class Al Mourjan lounge, the statement points out.
HIA stressed that it also introduced innovative solutions in 2019 to achieve operational excellence and enhanced passenger experience in the terminal.
The airport implemented advanced software solutions for passenger forecasting and queue measurement, which provides real-time passenger traffic forecasting as well as calculating waiting times and throughputs, which are visualised on a live dashboard, allowing the airport to keep waiting times in check. The software has enabled the operational staff to be proactive and stay agile in the terminal’s dynamic environment.
Along with HIA’s self-check-in and self-bag-drop kiosks, which was introduced in the terminal to provide passengers with a faster and smoother check in process, HIA recently introduced 10 automated security gates at the pre-immigration area, so that passengers can scan their own boarding cards and proceed to immigration, providing passengers with a "truly autonomous travel experience".
HIA was voted as the 'Best Airport in the Middle East' for the third consecutive year in 2019 at the 16th Annual Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey Awards in Los Angeles, recognising it for its outstanding performance in providing an exceptional experience to travellers. It also received the 'Best Passenger Experience Initiative' silver award at the Future Travel Experience Asia Awards 2019 in Singapore in November 2019 in recognition of the second phase of its Smart Airport Programme.
Further, the airport was named the 'Best Airport for Passenger Experience' for the second consecutive year in a study by AirHelp, the world’s leading air passenger rights specialist.
HIA is currently a candidate for the 'Best Airport in the World' award by Skytrax, which had classified it as a five-star airport in 2017, making it one among only five other airports in the world and the only one in the Middle East to achieve this prestigious status. Currently holding the 'Fourth-Best Airport in the World' and the “Best Airport in the Middle East” titles, HIA continuously works to improve all aspects of the passenger experience, the statement adds.
The results of the Skytrax World Airport Awards will be announced in March. Passengers can vote for HIA by visiting the official Skytrax World Airport Survey website