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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Passengers share experiences with new Hamad airport

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Photos by Chantelle D’Mello

As Qatar begins transitioning air carriers from the Doha International Airport (DIA) to the new Hamad International Airport (HIA), some passengers appear to be getting confused about the change.

Ten airlines began operating from the airport on April 30. Four more, including UAE-based Etihad Airways, moved to HIA yesterday, and an additional Bangladeshi carrier, United Airways, commences operations out of the new airport today.

All other airlines, including Qatar Airways, are set to fly out of the new airport on May 27. DIA is expected to close to passenger traffic on this date.

Yesterday, Duty Terminal Manager Mohamed Al Mousa told Doha News that some passengers had been turning up at the wrong airport:

“Some people were confused and showed up here, at the old airport, but that was only on the first two days after the new airport opened,” he said.

He added that things were “now running smoothly” and that no more confusion among passengers had been reported.

However, two passengers who spoke to Doha News yesterday spoke of experiencing difficulties this week.

The pair had been scheduled to board a 9:55am Etihad Airways flight to Abu Dhabi yesterday, and arrived at DIA at 8:45am. There, they were told they needed to report to HIA. Speaking to Doha News, one passenger said:

“Our ticket said that our flight was to depart from the old airport, so we came down here, and now we have to go to the new airport to not miss our flight.”

One way to avoid future confusion may be to check the airport’s website – this has listed the Etihad flight as taking off from HIA.

Passengers’ impressions

Despite the confusion, many passengers flying in and out of HIA said they were impressed by the size and design of the new airport. Speaking to Doha News, Barkha Malhotra, who arrived with her colleagues on a Fly Dubai flight, said:

“It looks great. We liked it very much. The older airport was congested, and facilities like the eye scan never worked for me. Here, the process was much smoother and quicker.”

Other passengers, including a group of Nepalese workers, echoed the similar sentiment, saying “We had no problems entering; the flight and immigration process was smooth.”

Although HIA is due to become fully operational at the end of this month, most of the airport’s 80 shops and 30 eateries remain closed.

Currently, there are three branches of Jamocha Cafe, a 24/7 convenience store, and a few Qatar Duty Free shops open for business.

Malhotra also pointed out a lack of rental cars at the new airport:

“Most of the cars here are sedan cars, which are unable to carry four of us and our luggage to the Sheraton,” she said. “My colleagues had to rent a car to take them to the old airport, where they were able to rent a larger SUV.”

The problem, according to AVIS rent-a-car representative Terry Comson, stems from a lack of allotted spaces at the new airport. Currently, the six rent-a-car companies are only allocated spaces for five cars each, and most of these cars are sedans, she told Doha News.

“There isn’t a high demand for larger cars or SUVs, so we don’t stock them here,” she added.

For now, should a larger car be required, the passenger would either have to wait for the car to be transported from the old airport, or would have to pick it up from the old airport themselves.

But more rental cars will move to HIA on May 27, Comsom said.

A number of companies and airlines, including Qatar Airways, were seen working at the new airport yesterday.

Teams of Qatar Airways ground staff were sent to HIA on a work visit to be familiarized with the facility before the airline officially begins flights there at the end of this month.

Have you traveled through the new airport yet? Thoughts?

Note: Information gleaned during an interview with one airport official and maintenance staff has been deleted from this post because the reporters did not properly identify themselves as media.

25 COMMENTS

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Suhail Rehman
Suhail Rehman
6 years ago

Flew Pegasus airlines out and into HIA last week. New airport is great, lots of staff around to try to make the experience as smooth as possible. Not sure enough eateries will be open in time for the full transfer of all flights to HIA and the ensuing crowd. My only gripe was not having a Currency Exchange counter at HIA, but hopefully that will open soon enough.

Sarah010
Sarah010
6 years ago

We’re flying out on 27th afternoon on QR..still receiving conflicting reports whether it is DIA or HIA. Anyone know more?

Salman Alansari
Salman Alansari
6 years ago
Reply to  Sarah010

I think they said they will move in the morning. if its late flight you probably will land in HIA. Im not sure though. you should call them and check.

Sarah010
Sarah010
6 years ago

They confirmed it will be HIA 🙂

Zaheer
Zaheer
6 years ago
Reply to  Sarah010

most probably HIA

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

Why do people keep referring to it as “HIA”? That is the IATA airport code for Lianshui airport in Hui’an, China. If you try and book a flight to “HIA” you might find yourself in the wrong place. I am assuming the new airport is just going to adopt the “DOH” code but there doesn’t seem to have been any clarification of this anywhere.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

HIA is used as it is Hamad International Airport. It is not meant as an IATA code. One should use the ICAO code of OTHH. IATA codes are best avoided for the very reasons you mentioned. – They can be confused with abbreviations for names.

Zaheer
Zaheer
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

and i dont know why qatar airways is called QR .. shouldnt it be QA .. or someone registered QA it seems..like a domain name .. its funny

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Zaheer

Because of Qantas Airlines (New Zealand).

Myrddin
Myrddin
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Oh dear..

Aussie Attack imminent?
🙂

rory
rory
6 years ago
Reply to  Myrddin

It’s OK. Nobody noticed.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  rory

New Zealanders / Australians – all the same aren’t they & Canada is in America somewhere isn’t it?

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

No more bus rides!!!! RESULT!

Aussiegirl
Aussiegirl
6 years ago

Why would you turn up for an international flight with only 70 mins before it leaves, surely they all say to be there at least 2 hours before?

Zaheer
Zaheer
6 years ago
Reply to  Aussiegirl

i read somewhere .. they said 4 hours before .. for new airport

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  Zaheer

Most large airports recommend 4 hours ahead of your flight that to give you time to check-in, go through security clearance, etc…

Zaheer
Zaheer
6 years ago
Reply to  Ms. Hala

I c Ms. Hala .. saw u on twitter

Ms. Hala
6 years ago
Reply to  Aussiegirl

I was just thinking that! They needed at least 2 hours since they should be at the gate 45 minutes if not longer to board a plane that requires a bus ride! I don’t feel sorry for those two if they missed their flight… #JustSaying

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

I have to say I have a soft spot for the old airport. The last few time my daughter and I flew from there we have had no problems, through security quickly flying in and out. The worst part of it is the buses!! But at least you don’t have to walk a million miles to the terminal….

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

I’d rather walk a million miles on my own than ride one of those buses again

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

I know it is annoying, I live just off airport road and I drive to the airport then pass my house on the bus. They could have just picked me up on the way!! Ha ha!!

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

Glad I’m not the only sentimental one 🙂 We’d love to get pictures of the old airport before it closes – so if anyone would like to send us some, please email editor@dohanews.co (not com).

AFG
AFG
6 years ago

Will be testing the new airport this 27th May and really looking forward to that.
The old airport, I must say, is still much better than most of the airport in the region like Bahrain & Jeddah. I’m talking in terms of the time spent on the counter and facility as a whole.
Kudos Qatar~

---
---
6 years ago

“Most of the cars here are sedan cars, which are unable to carry four of us and our luggage to the Sheraton,” she said. “My colleagues had to rent a car to take them to the old airport, where they were able to rent a larger SUV.”

I hope she enjoys her stay at the Sheraton…

Mariann Andrie Mejillano
Mariann Andrie Mejillano
6 years ago
Reply to  ---

Hehe.. Coz Sheraton is presently closed for renovation..

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