Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) saw passenger traffic jump 20 percent in 2016, officials have announced.
The airport handled some 37.3 million passengers in 2016, up 7.3 million from the year before.
This is in part due to operator Qatar Airways’ rapid growth. It began flying to 14 new destinations last year.
The surge comes despite HIA’s capacity to only handle around 30 million passengers.
However, officials said they focused on boosting that with the addition of Concourses D and E last year. This added eight contact gates and 130,000 more square meters of space, HIA said in a statement this week.
But passengers have continued to complain about long lines at immigration, despite the launch of free automated e-gate services for residents.
— Caspar Smeets (@casparsmeets) February 2, 2017
According to HIA’s website, plans are now afoot to expand the airport to handle some 50 million passengers a year.
Officials have previously stated a 2020 goal for completion of that expansion.
Also this week, HIA announced that it will now operate as an independent entity under the Qatar Airways Group.
Previously, it was operated by Qatar’s national carrier.
The new entity could also buy stakes in other international airports if they are sound investments, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said during a press conference in New Zealand.
He was there to introduce the launch of the world’s longest flight by duration, a 17+ hour route from Auckland to Doha.