US presidential hopeful and business tycoon Donald Trump has described Qatar’s airport as “incredible,” “gorgeous” and “one of the most beautiful airports I’ve ever seen,” during several occasions while on the campaign trail in the US over the past few months.
Most recently, he complimented airport facilities this week in Manchester, New Hampshire, calling American counterparts like LaGuardia in New York “third world” and “horrible” by comparison, CNN Arabic reports.
Before it closed permanently last year, DIA was frustrated many residents who complained it was too small and outdated.
However, DIA’s premium terminal for business and first-class passengers was popular due to its many amenities, including massage chairs and a hot tub.
In April, Trump recalled a long-ago visit to Qatar in which a top-ranking official gave him a tour of DIA. When he extolled the building, the official told him that the terminal was being knocked down and a new one was being built.
Trump also commended the beauty of other Gulf airports including in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain during separate campaign rallies in recent months.
Trump in NH: "In Qatar in the airport they have spas. You can get a massage. I don't do that. I don't like people touching me. It's true."
— Roger Simon (@politicoroger) August 14, 2015
Despite his love of those facilities, the candidate has made several controversial statements regarding the Gulf, saying for example that he was “not a fan” of Saudi Arabia and that the US had paid too much to “back them up.”
Still, the business tycoon has previously expressed interest in expanding his hotel empire into the Gulf. Hotelier Middle East reported his daughter and executive vice-president of development and acquisitions as saying last year:
“Dubai is a top priority city for us. We are looking at multiple opportunities in Abu Dhabi, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia, so those are the four areas where we are seeing the most interest. We haven’t made a final decision in any of the markets but we have many very compelling deals in each of them.”
Trump is currently the front-running candidate among more than a dozen people vying to represent the conservative Republican party ahead of the US presidential elections in 2016.
It remains to be seen whether he will get the nomination, after alienating several minority groups in the US, including Hispanics, homosexuals and Muslims, with recent remarks.
Hamad International Airport
Last month, Qatar’s new airport was voted the sixth best in the world, according to a recent survey by Conde Nast Traveller readers.
This is the first time the airport has made the UK lifestyle travel magazine’s shortlist.
HIA came just behind Dubai International, which ranked fifth and was hailed for its shopping opportunities.
Plans are now underway to expand HIA to accommodate some 50 million travelers a year, as Doha becomes an increasingly popular transit hub.
The project should be completed by 2020, an official with the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee said last month.