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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Hamad International ‘world’s coolest airport,’ Huffington Post says

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Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport

Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been dubbed the “coolest” in the world, according to a list drawn up for the Huffington Post.

The ranking, produced by deals website Travelzoo, lists seven airports around the world that it says help make global travel more pleasurable.

Explaining why it ranked HIA so highly, Travelzoo stated that the airport “screams luxury.”

The post mentions that the HIA boasts its own swimming pool and free quiet rooms for passengers to rest in.

However, it reserved its biggest praise for the airport’s imposing art installations:

“Did I mention they also have a giant dinosaur robot and a 23-foot-tall Urs Fischer sculpture of a yellow teddy bear? Sounds like the perfect opportunity for a brag-worthy Instagram pic. Hashtag, love Qatar.”

In a statement responding to the list, Badr Mohammed Al Meer, HIA’s chief operating officer, said that honor “mirrored” the airport’s ambition to position itself as “a major player.”

HIA also got favorable marks from Skytrax in March, joining its list of top 10 best airports in the world.

That same month, HIA was also ranked among the best airports in the Middle East by the Airport Service Quality Awards (ASQ), which are based on passenger surveys.

The other six

Airports on four different continents are listed in the “cool” index.

Singapore’s Changi placed second, apparently due to its retail options and “butterfly garden,” while Hong Kong International, which has its own Aviation Discovery Center, is at three.

The Butterfly Garden at Singapore's Changi Airport
The Butterfly Garden at Singapore’s Changi Airport

Finland’s Helsinki airport is number four, and one of Hamad International’s neighbors, Dubai International, also made the list, at fifth.

Spain’s Madrid-Barajas and New Zealand’s Wellington airport take the two final spots.

Expansion plans

Although the airport won praise for its facilities, passengers traveling through HIA at busy times might beg to differ.

The airport is already exceeding its planned annual capacity, leading to lengthy queues during peak travel periods.

@RoryWSJ / Twitter
@RoryWSJ / Twitter

However, plans to expand HIA are already afoot.

When building work is completed by 2020, the size of the passenger terminal will increase to more than 1 million square meters, the number of contact gates will nearly double to 61 and capacity should reach some 53 million passengers a year.

Earlier this month, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said building work on the project should begin by the end of this year.

Do you think HIA is “cool?” Thoughts?

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