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.
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.
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.
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