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Monday, September 27, 2021

Al Baker: Qatar airport expansion to be completed within three years

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Architects are finalizing design plans for an expansion of the recently opened Hamad International Airport passenger terminal, according to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

The airline executive told Doha News yesterday that he expected British architect Sir Norman Foster to wrap up his work “over the next few months.”

The architect’s firm, Foster + Partners, also designed the new passenger terminal that is being built at Kuwait International Airport.

Once the design is set, construction firms would be invited to bid on the extension project, which should be completed within the next three years, Al Baker added.

The final phase of the airport would effectively increase the size of the passenger terminal by 50 percent, enlarging it to roughly 900,000 square meters, according to details released by the airport earlier this year.

The expansion project also includes plans to add 24 new airplane gates directly attached to the terminal, bringing the total to 65. That’s in addition to the 22 existing “remote gates” on the tarmac that require buses to bring passengers to the terminal.

The expansion would effectively increase the airport’s capacity by two-thirds, to 50 million travelers annually.

Air passenger traffic in Qatar has climbed rapidly in recent years, growing 10 percent or more annually to reach 23.27 million in 2013.

The lineup for taxis at Hamad International Airport shortly after midnight early Saturday morning.
The lineup for taxis at Hamad International Airport shortly after midnight early Saturday morning.

HIA appears to have accommodated this month’s Eid holiday rush without issue.

For many travelers, it was a pleasant contrast to last year, when traffic gridlock around the old Doha International Airport forced some passengers to abandon their rides and walk with their luggage to the terminal to avoid missing their flights.

This year, there were few reports of backups at check-in or immigration counters at the start of the holiday.

Passengers arriving in Qatar late on Friday were greeted with a 20-minute taxi queue that wrapped around half of the sidewalk outside the arrivals area, but a non-stop stream of Mowasalat cabs co-ordinated by multiple on-site supervisors kept the line moving.

Saudi ties

Al Baker made his remarks about HIA’s expansion during a Sunday press conference to announce Qatar Airways’ sponsorship of the Al-Ahli Football Club in Saudi Arabia for the next three seasons.

Fahd bin Khaled bin Abdullah, chairman of Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli Football Club (left) and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker display the team's new jersey design.
Fahd bin Khaled bin Abdullah, chairman of Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahli Football Club (left) and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker display the team's new jersey design.

Saudi Arabia is already a major market for Qatar Airways, which operates 86 flights to the neighboring Gulf state weekly.

The country’s importance to the airline will grow further in the new year when it launches one of two new domestic carriers in the Kingdom, Al Maha Airways.

The new airline will use a fleet of Airbus A320-200 planes sporting the Qatar Airways oryx logo, painted in green rather than the traditional maroon to match Saudi Arabia’s national colors.

Al Maha Airways will initially operate between Jeddah and Riyadh before expanding to additional destinations within that country.

Qatar Airways and Bahrain-based Gulf Air received approvals to operate domestic services in Saudi Arabia in late 2012 and were initially expected to start flying earlier this year.

The launch date has been pushed back several times over concerns about price caps for domestic flights and fuel subsidies for the kingdom’s own airlines and, later, regulatory delays.

In May, Qatar Airways said it expected Al Maha would enter service by the end of 2014. However, a press release issued Sunday said the new airline would begin operating “in the New Year.”

Thoughts?

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Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

I think that construction projects here are estimated in dog years.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

Comment of the day

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Why was the new airport constructed with 22 ‘remote’ gates, requiring the use of buses? I was under the foolish misapprehension that the new airport would be ‘state of the art’ with such modern wonders as air bridges, allowing passengers the thrilling experience of being able to walk right on to their aircraft.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

state of art…it still takes an hour and a bit to go through passport control during eid…then theres gate E which is another 15 minutes walk…I almost missed my flight having checked in 2 hours before departing!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

I’ve departed from the D and E gates on a few flights now, and the only thing more annoying than the 15 minute walk, and the bus trip that then follows, is that for the entire walk along to the D and E gates, all the other gates aren’t being used.

Maybe I’m totally missing something but it would seem to me that the buses aren’t serving as overflow because all the other gates are busy with other flights. If that were the case all the gates between the teddy and the D/E gates would be swarming with passengers waiting to board their soon-to-depart flights. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

Perhaps you are totally right, someone was making too much money leasing buses to the airport?

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I agree. Leaving in JUne we walked all the way to the end and besides the area with all the IMacs saw no one in between there and the gate. Coming back in August exact same thing. Arrived at the very end gate and no one between there and main terminal area.

And why the heck is it so dark in there at night?

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Normally I depart from other gates (oddly, its the 1st time I fly using Qatar airways out of qatar and it was the furthest gate away…normally the low budget airlines are much closer)
but I noticed 2 things…
1 st that I didnt have many people in my way..next to none…in fact once I got to one part of the airport at the end of gate C or D (cant remember) it was so empty I thought id gone the wrong way.
2nd…that once I got to gate E 23…it was kinda busy…maybe its something logistical so that they use the buses.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Hard to have the Bentley drive you to the aircraft gate when you have to walk. 😉 I actually think this was the result of poor capacity planning, again. Likely intended as an overflow area for the smaller (737/A320) aircraft to keep the gates open for the larger planes, but as the airport was delayed year after year the in place plan did not account for the growth, which would have been the point of the Terminal 2 to begin with. Once in place though, it should allow for the regional carriers and non-Qatar Airways or One World flights to be handled out of the second terminal. I would wager a guess that it will not be as fancy as the current terminal (lack of Premium and Super Premium lounges) as the Qatar Airways flights would be handled out of the current space, with the new terminal freeing up the gates. The infrastructure was always intended to handle 90 million passengers per year of traffic, which is about double the current capability (50 million). But yes, agree on the 22 remote gates. Maybe someone was going to lose to much on the elimination of the buses? Who knows…..

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

Silence…. calm…. tranquility… a shard of light enters the arrivals hall from above and we can see the dust almost settle on the giant bear with a lamp shade in its head (poor teddy)… …. …. …. …. suddenly…. … …. …. tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap…. construction starts.

greg
greg
6 years ago

Start by lowering the extortionate prices of Qatar airways

Susan
Susan
6 years ago

The new airport has been open for about a year and already it seems obsolete. Who originally thought that having so few gates was a good idea for such a big new airport project?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

If you look at this rendering of the airport, and compare it to what was built (which you can see on Google Earth) there are A LOT more contact gates in the image than in reality.

http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-21877-al-baker-blames-bechtel-for-new-doha-airport-delay/

Perhaps more gates were planned but they opted not to build them?

Omar Alansari
Omar Alansari
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

those contact gates are what this thread is about! they are the expansion!
Currently, concourses D and E are half open and half the size as well. the lower level of them houses the bus gates while the other upper half has the contact gates (not open as of my last visit) but seemed almost ready, the expansion will double the size of these two concourses up and down.
providing bus gates in each airport is necessary for safety/ health, logistical and commercial reasons . .that’s a long debate.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

if there was a William Hill in Doha what odds would they offer against this 3 year declaration?

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
6 years ago

Still trying to figure out why it takes an hour or more to get your luggage. Plus, before they start any more construction- fix the issues with this airport, first. Add trolleys at all the gates for hand luggage so it makes the 15 minute walk more bearable. Have plenty of strollers also by each gate so families with small children can easily make the 15 minute walk. (Since the airport refuses to allow us to pick up our strollers at the gate like most other airports). Plus, allow families to use the elevators, and stop telling employees to tell us we can’t use them. Add lots of golf carts/porters to help with older passengers make the long trek down arrivals. Finally add bathrooms to the Al Maha service lounge. Silly we have to wander the airport to use the restroom even though we paid hundreds of riyals for Al Maha.

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

Thursday evenings queue at immigration was no different to the old airport. Still not enough desks. They have about eight dedicated to GCC residents where only about ten people went through over a 20 minute period.
Baby strollers coming through heavy baggage winds me up. You have to wait at least ten minutes after you get your cases before the pushchair comes out. The whole idea of pushchair gate check in is so you can collect it before the bags, like you can everywhere else in the world!
On the plus side, departing has been pretty smooth for me so far (could still do with more immigration desks here as well). Its ok if you are going with Qatar Airways but they don’t allocate enough desks for other airlines so can be long queues. I do like the long term car park though and hope it continues to remain free (which it almost certainly won’t and they will end up charging the same rates as short term)

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