Hamad International Airport (HIA) will bring a ‘wow’ factor to passengers when it completes its expansion, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker has said.

“HIA is a destination. And when you pass through HIA, you want to visit it again and again. The facilities we have in the airport are second to none. And especially, when we complete our expansion, it will bring a wow factor,” al-Baker said in a message on Wednesday.

He said, “I operate both the airline and the airport. So, we have made sure that the total passenger cycle is controlled by us.

"We have touchless passenger points…we have social distancing, we have a lot of use of sanitisers. We were the only airport (from the beginning) to start using UV robots to disinfect every part of the airport. We use advanced clean materials – everybody has to wear masks and gloves. So, we have taken every single precaution.”

Qatar Airways and HIA are integrated and have implemented several measures for passenger safety, including touchless passenger points, advanced temperature screening and provide passengers with gloves, face masks, face shields and hand sanitisers.

By the end of this month, Qatar Airways will operate over 450 weekly flights to more than 70 destinations.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has been the “darkest” period for aviation, but Qatar Airways has shown its resilience by helping get thousands of passengers home, delivering free medical supplies and donating aid to countries in need.

“According to IATA, we were the largest carrier for the month May and June. We operated nearly 70 destinations and carried hundreds of thousands of passengers to their loved ones… and to their country. We carried over 250,000 tonnes of medical supplies. What it shows is that when you are determined to take advantage of whatever bleak circumstances your business will face, I think there is always an opportunity,” he said.

On Tuesday, while speaking on the need for standardisation of regulations required for travelling during this period, HE al-Baker had said the World Health Organisation should print a health certificate that would require flyers to undergo a Covid-19 test 72 hours before their flight.

He made the observation during an interview with 'Air Transport Weekly', in which he provided insights on how the airline industry could best survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

Qatar Airways gave excerpts of the interview through a series of tweets.

“My biggest priority is to make sure that we have an airline that reflects the culture and hospitality of my country, Qatar," he said. "I am fully confident that the airline industry will bounce back.

"I am also confident that people will get more and more comfortable and confident with the strides the scientific community is making in combating this terrible disease...and that people will be able to enjoy the hospitality we provide at Hamad International Airport travelling by Qatar Airways."

On what he thinks it will take for aviation numbers to return to the 2019 levels, HE al-Baker said: "Not for the next 3-5 years. It will just be a miracle if the figures go to the 2019 levels in this period of time."