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Friday, March 5, 2021

As Qatar awaits new airport, traffic at DIA continues to increase

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Passenger numbers and cargo shipments passing through Doha International Airport (DIA) continue to grow year-on-year, putting the already busy airport under increasing pressure, new figures show.

Nearly 2 million (1,973,823) passengers traveled to and from the airport in February, a 12.5 percent increase from the same period last year. Cargo traffic also increased by 12.7 percent year-on-year, and aircraft movements were also up by 7 percent.

These figures echo similar statistics released last month for January, which was a record month for passenger traffic at the airport. A total of 2,191,148 passengers passed through DIA that month, an increase of nearly 18 percent from the previous year.

The impact of these record numbers are certainly being felt by passengers during busy periods, with parking facilities at the arrivals terminal and passport control at arrivals coming under particular strain.

Last summer, for example, airport officials advised passengers to arrive four hours before their flights to accommodate expected queues and delays.

Officials also acknowledge that the DIA has been operating beyond capacity. Speaking to Doha News in November, executive vice-president Patrick Muller said:

“This airport has reached the end of its lifespan. We’re just trying to manage the operations as good as we can.”

He added that the airport’s declared capacity is 29 aircraft movements (takeoffs and landings) an hour. But DIA typically operates at between 35 and 38 aircraft movements an hour, including non-commercial operations.

Continued expansion

The growth of Qatar’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, has led to a need for the continued expansion of facilities at the current airport, as the country awaits the opening of the much-delayed Hamad International Airport (HIA).

DIA has seen the addition of new gates and more aircraft parking bays. And in January, it launched a new mobile app to give passengers more information about facilities within the airport, a sign that management does not expect to close the airport to passenger traffic in the short term.

HIA is now expected to partly open by the middle of 2014, considerably later than the January 2014 date signaled by the transport minister last year. Two official opening dates for HIA have come and gone in the last three years: Dec. 12, 2012 (12/12/12), and April 1, 2013.

In a statement in January, the chairman of the Hamad International Airport (HIA) steering committee Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi said that the airport was now “on track for a phased opening by mid-year 2014.”

Despite this, no firm opening date for the airport’s expected soft launch has been set.

A spokeswoman from the HIA steering committee told us today that they have “no new update” to give us about the planned opening schedule.

Thoughts?

14 COMMENTS

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Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

As (economy) passenger frustration continues to grow, we see statements like this from Qatar Airways, upon receipt of an award for the premium terminal:

“We are very proud to have won this award for the fourth consecutive year. It is a great testament to the hard work and efforts of all Qatar Airways staff striving to go that extra mile to deliver top-notch customer service every day. The travel experience for any passenger starts at the airport, and so our Premium Terminal has proved to be a real winner focusing on satisfying the needs of our passengers by providing them with only the best of airport experiences.”

It’s good that they are acknowledging that the travel experience is defined largely by the experience within the terminal, and not just in the air. However why focus so heavily on providing great service to first and business class passengers? Why not also strive to provide ‘best of airport experiences’ for economy passengers too?

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Because they earn more money with business and first class passengers, I guess …

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Well to a point. But take the Qatar Airways 787: 232 economy seats and 22 business seats.
I find it difficult to believe that the airline really thinks it’s sensible to provide 232 people with a pretty crap on the ground experience – overcrowded terminal with poor food and beverage options, overcrowded and stinking toilets and a lack of comfortable seating – in favor of lavishing 22 people with the finest French champagne, gourmet meals and leather sofas.

How many of those 232 economy passengers will wonder if booking a ticket with Emirates or Etihad next time they travel will be a better idea?

Gary
Gary
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I have for the past three years flown Qatar business however even though the premium terminal is excellent their continued increases in fares, non existent customer service and coupled with now only one flight to Manila each day at bad timings has made me change to Etihad.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary

I’m the same. Looking at shifting all our business to Emirates. Qatar Airways is nice and shiny but the service is about the worst I have ever experienced. All mouth and no trousers basically.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Even the Premium terminal is overcrowded now. At peak times there are few available seats the waiting line for business passengers at immigration is easily twice as long as just a year ago (about 20 minutes last time). True, it’s much better than economy, but the ticket price is typically 5-10 times that of an economy fare.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago

In other news the 2022 World Cup is now expected to open in 2028…

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

LOL

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I don’t know what you are all complaining about, I’ve just been awarded the contract for the New New Doha International Airport which will be needed by the time HIA opens. I plan to have it finished by 2021, 2023 or 2030.

AFG
AFG
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Lol..good one~

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You, sir, win the internet today.

KK
KK
6 years ago

35 to 38 aircraft movements per hour, are they waiting for a disaster to happen ?

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago
Reply to  KK

Perhaps they meant “35 to 38 minutes per bus movement?” That IS a disaster.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago

Having been inside the new terminal, I can assure you it is damn well as ready to go as any existing terminal around the world I have ever seen!!!!
I fail really to understand the PR disaster that certain ministries are continuing to propegate for the country in their efforts to power play. Come on guys, get your toys sorted out. You want to be a world player then step up and open the terminal before it becomes an anti climax.

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