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    New security measures at Qatar’s Hamad Airport catch many off-guard

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    Hamad Airport security
    Hamad Airport security

    Unless you’re flying out of Qatar this weekend, you likely will not be allowed to enter Hamad International Airport (HIA).

    New security measures have been introduced over the Eid Al Fitr holidays, restricting access to both the Arrivals and Departures terminals.

    HIA has not commented on the new measures and it is unclear how long they will be in place.

    But over the past two days, several travelers leaving Doha and others going to pick up friends and family members reported having trouble getting into the building:

    https://twitter.com/CestYousef/status/750422156723494912

    Departures

    People catching a flight out of Qatar will need to present boarding passes, plane tickets or their names to security guards before they are permitted into the airport.

    Once inside, there is a passport check as well.

    A security guard who spoke to Doha News this morning did not say whether there was a specific reason for the increased security.

    He added that his team was simply instructed to conduct the checks through the rest of the weekend because of Eid.

    Another guard cited regional turmoil and the recent attacks in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as a reason for the heightened security measures.

    Ahead of the Eid holidays, authorities did warn that undefined “measures” were being put in place at HIA for the “safety and convenience of travelers.”

    Arrivals

    People going to the airport to pick up friends and family who have flown into Qatar will not be allowed inside HIA.

    Instead, they are being instructed to wait outside.

    Waiting at Hamad Airport
    Waiting at Hamad Airport

    Given the heat – the high hit 45C (113F) yesterday – many found this new rule frustrating.

    Speaking to Doha News, a Filipino expat named Richard said:

    “We understand there are security measures, but this is a hassle for everyone. When you think about security measures, you have to think about the people that are going to be affected.

    We had no idea this is going on and why it’s going on, they never announced it. This is Hamad, we expect better.”

    Meanwhile, a British expat who came to pick up his family said he was rudely turned away without explanation this morning.

    The man, who declined to give his name, added that he was angry because his wife and kids are arriving and their phones are off so they won’t understand what’s going on.

    Have you been affected by the new measures? Thoughts?

    Shabina S. Khatri
    Shabina S. Khatri is the editor of Doha News. She holds dual bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University, has previously taught at NU-Q, and worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit Free Press.

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