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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Hamad Int’l prepares for airport rush as travelers return to Qatar

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With reporting from Riham Sheble

New screening devices that quickly read passports, fingerprints and eye scans will be used at Hamad International Airport to speed up immigration times there as thousands of people stream back to Doha after summer holidays, officials have said.

QNA reports the director of HIA’s passports department, Lt. Col. Mohammed Rashid Al Mazroue, as saying that the airport is equipped to process some 6,000 passengers an hour at immigration, using 60 counters for different categories of travelers.

There are also 16 eGate lanes, which Al Mazroue urged residents to sign up for to make it easier to pass through immigration.

Last year around this time, Doha International Airport officials said they were expecting 100,000 people to fly back into Qatar before schools began in September.

That figure is likely to be higher this month, as some 230,000 people left the country in July following the end of Ramadan.

Anticipating the influx, HIA officials also said they have trained staff to help manage the crowds. QNA reports:

“They are trained in detecting fraudulent and forged passports as well as enhancing their skills in welcoming passengers, treating them in a professional and friendly manner and looking their best. They are taught to not be occupied with anything other than processing the passenger’s papers.”

This is all to guarantee that passengers pass through quickly and smoothly as well as representing Qatar in a positive fashion, as these employees reflect Qatar’s hospitality and professionalism.”

Baggage claim will also be running smoothly, pledged Maj. Nasser Abdul Karim Al Hamidi, head of the passports section.

He acknowledged that when HIA originally opened, passengers complained about delays in getting their luggage. But the system has been tweaked so that bags may arrive on the carousels before the passengers themselves, Al Hamidi said.

Traffic increasing

Passenger traffic in Qatar has been increasing in leaps and bounds over the past two years.

In the four months that it has been open, HIA has “handled” some 2.4 million passengers, and an average of 34,000 people use the counters daily, according to QNA.

In addition to the new scanners at immigration and the increased attention to customer service, many residents coming back to Doha will notice various people in white coats at the gates, scanning people’s body temperatures as they disembark from their planes.

This is a new measure that was implemented earlier this month, after the deadly Ebola virus was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization.

Are you returning to Qatar soon? What was your airport experience like?

19 COMMENTS

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Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
7 years ago

Just returned 3 days ago. Not thrilled… first- passengers’ strollers were not made available at the gate for pickup like other airports do. So myself and 3 kids with 6 carry-ons had to walk the long walk down arrivals without our stroller. There is an elevator down, but employees forbid you to use it, so we had to make our way down the escalator. No small feat with kids and bags. No carts or rental strollers either. How do they expect families with children to make the trek down arrivals with no strollers or carts for bags? We used al Maha on the advice from others. Glad we did because even 3 days ago immigration line was very long. Big issue with Al Maha- no bathrooms in the lounge. Really? The lounge is huge, but we have to exit the lounge and find one out in the immigration area. Again, impossible to do with children. Everything looks pretty but no thought into planning for functionality. Plus, the whole dang airport was so hot and dark.

Ben
Ben
7 years ago

Its stupid how strollers come out of the oversized baggage bit and the two times I’ve arrived, the stroller has come out at least 10 minutes after we have collected our bags. I thought the whole idea of using gate check in for the strollers was so that you could get them back before your bags come out

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
7 years ago
Reply to  Ben

I’ve had quite a few people tell me their stroller doesn’t come at all- It goes missing. How is that possible if it was gate checked?

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
7 years ago

I had the same experience last night. Absolutely ridiculous.my wriggly 1.5 year old then tried to jump out my arms, I nearly dropped her, as I put her down my bag swung off my shoulder and knocked her to the ground. She cried, I nearly cried it was awful and nobody bothers to help. Then they lost my bloody bag. My flight landed at 7.40’pm I hot out at 9.10. Saw my husband and burst into tears in arrivals. How embarrassing and all because Doha airport can’t look after their passengers. I was so angry I can’t even begin.

AAM
AAM
7 years ago

Just returned this morning & as usual only 3-4 counters were open serving about 100 people. They have many counters but they don’t have a calling system or visual counter display system. Would it not have been better if they had separate lanes/counters for Qatar residents (expats) only. With the influx of people in Qatar, there are many who stand in line for the 1st time albeit not knowing what to do etc, hence the delays. QA CEO Al Baker has guaranteed that the max per passenger to be processed is 2-3min, how will this be possible if all the counters are not open. Hi tech airport with no planning for improved functionality is very well said below.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  AAM

A tip for those implementing the Qatarization: more people needed at the Dubai-wanna-be HIA for all counters!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago
Reply to  AAM

So you don’t agree with a certain someone who describes the airport as “undoubtedly the best [airport] facility ever built anywhere”?

AAM
AAM
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Can only be on another planet 🙂

Chilidog
Chilidog
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I don’t think many people agree with much of what that guy has to say unless they’re contractually bound to do so.

sadam
sadam
7 years ago

Not impressed. It felt like wondering through an arid land wondering where in tarnation are my luggage at.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago

Not much is going to change at Hamad Airport by complaining about it here. If you want to be helpful, leave a review on this website: http://www.airlinequality.com/Airports/Airport_forum/doha.htm

Michael L
Michael L
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Just took the survey, seems almost all are having a poor experience …. Did nobody from Qatar visit Changi and see what excellence really looks and feels like ?

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago

Got through in a flash thanks to egate. Then waited and waited and waited and waited and waited for bags, contrary to the comment above of bags being there before customers! Might happen for first class but not for us plebs at the back of the bus. But I suppose we don’t matter really, wrong passport.

Michael L
Michael L
7 years ago

Even Al Maha didn’t work for us last time as there was no immigration official present, we waited 10 minutes then used the usual queue. The immigration guys blamed Qatar Airways, the usual Doha shuffle. The lack of professionalism and pride in doing a good job is sadly lacking across the whole of Doha and no amount of money will fix that. It’s all about values.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

mediocrity is the common denominator here, it is even boring repeating myself. But unfortunately that’s the reality of things

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago

“They are taught to not be occupied with anything other than processing the passenger’s papers.” hmmm.. interesting… does this mean that constant attention to cell phones is not allowed?

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Blackberry Jam!! Is the name for it!

Chilidog
Chilidog
7 years ago

I just arrived back to Doha from a business trip and breezed through immigration thanks to e-gate. The immigration area was a complete zoo, with not enough desks open and incredibly long lines, so I was glad for my e-gate privilege. However, e-gate benefitted me nothing, as I waited 65 minutes for my bag to arrive. Can’t say I’ve ever waited that long at any airport for a bag ever. Meanwhile, a handful of thobes across the baggage carousel continued to cluck and glare at me because I had the gall to order a beer on the flight while sitting across the aisle from them. And an abaya glared at me when I had the audacity to smile and wave at her toddler that was cooing in my direction (the thobes must have informed her about the beer). The taxi area was a total disaster.

No, I don’t think this airport or country are ready for the World Cup…. Wait, this article was about the end of summer rush? Nope, not ready for that either. Pretty building that definitely smells better than the last stinkbomb, but next to zero functionality or sense of welcoming.

Aussie expat
Aussie expat
7 years ago

Arrived back at 01:30 this morning. Very quickly through the First/Business Class Immigration line (we have egate but since my 4yo doesn’t, we can’t use it when she is with us). Down to baggage where we waited, and waited, and waited… One hour fifteen after the aircraft landed, the bags started to come out, there were no other aircraft arrivals occurring. Then over to oversize to wait for the gate checked stroller… a further one hour for the stroller to arrive. Landed at 01:30, arrived at The Pearl at 04:00. Not a sterling performance HIA.

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