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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

PHOTOS: New Hamad International Airport almost ready for passengers

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Despite hosting today’s oneworld event inside the new Hamad International Airport, which is soon to be the national carrier’s main hub, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker was unable to give any more details about a planned opening date for the much-delayed facility.

Instead, he referred journalists to comments made by the Transport Minister Jassim Al Sulaiti earlier this week, in which the official said the airport would open “early next year.”

HIA, a $15.5 billion airport project, was originally slated for completion in 2009. Two official opening dates have come and gone in the last two years: Dec. 12, 2012 (12/12/12), and April 1, 2013.

Journalists from the world’s media were, however, given a brief tour of HIA today. The facility aims to impress from the start, as the entire approach road is flanked by green gardens and palm trees.

Inside, there are high vaulted ceilings, suspended walkways, a waterfall and several art installations, including Urs Fischer’s Untitled (Lamp/Bear), a seven-meter tall bronze teddy bear with a lamp over its head.

Work still ongoing

For an airport that had been on the verge of opening to passengers last year, however, it didn’t feel totally ready. All retail outlets, except one coffee kiosk we saw, were covered in generic hoardings.

No signage for stores were visible, apart from the airport’s own coffee shop insignia, and when asked which food and beverage brands the airport would host, management told us they preferred the outlets to be a “surprise.”

There was also construction at an area marked out for Business and First Class check in, and construction hoardings covering the front of a business lounge. Possibly one of those at the center of a legal wrangle between HIA and Lindner Depa Interior (LDI), whose contract to fit out the lounges was terminated early last year.

Residents who’ve endured long waits at the current airport will, however, be cheered to hear about some of the airport’s vital statistics, including: 138 check-in counters; 34 passport control counters for economy passengers and 16 for Business and First; 41 gates with direct access to the aircraft (no more buses!); the ability to handle 19,500 bags per hour, and three times more parking than the current airport.

Airport management also said that they will be capable of handling flight transfers of only 30 minutes, an ambitious target for a building of this size.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photos by Brian Candy

20 COMMENTS

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Sharkfinn
Sharkfinn
7 years ago

That teddy bear is going to catch on fire if it’s THAT close to that incandescent lamp.

sicti
sicti
7 years ago
Reply to  Sharkfinn

Slight chances as the bear is made of bronze :))

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

“Almost ready” is a term that should be used with caution in Qatar

Guest
Guest
7 years ago

Only 3 times more parking ??? For an airport due to handle a minimum of 5 times more passengers ?

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago
Reply to  Guest

And only one entrance to gain access to that parking!

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

Finally 🙂

sicti
sicti
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Don’t say finally yet 🙂

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago

impressive is the NEW airport Al Maktoum international in Dubai, inagurated this week, and almost finished; it is the 4th biggest in the world. And you will not find a yellow teddy bear, for sure!

Chillaxxx
Chillaxxx
7 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

So you really don’t think this airport is impressive?

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  Chillaxxx

we are still waiting to see how impressive is going to be; so far the impressive thing has been only the amount of time they have delayed the opening.
However, normally Dubai tends to do things always better without too much talk….

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

And how much the budget was overspent by.

AAM
AAM
7 years ago

It will be opened on 11/12/13 this is the last of any such possible sequence for the next century.

sicti
sicti
7 years ago
Reply to  AAM

…or maybe the calendar will be changed globally and we’ll have the opportunity to open it on 14/14/14 :)))

dubious
dubious
7 years ago

Many airports these days seem to forget they’re airports and think they’re shopping malls. Once you have the airport bit perfect, then maybe you can mess around with having 101 shops selling handbag, shoes and fridges, and play around with nonsense such as, my pet airport hate, not having announcements (except for the constant announcements about not having announcements of course). It may well “disturb the shoppers” or some other rubbish, but you’re not a mall, you’re an airport. Hello?

It looks like the airport bits are in place here, so let’s get in and away from the mess that is DOH.

KK
KK
7 years ago

all nice, but when does it open ?

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  KK

In “early” 2014 … Whatever that means…

I prefer to hear about it being open, not a new date.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Yes, whenever I see anything about the new airport in the news, I only scroll down to where they list the new date.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

It will be ready by December (they just don’t specify WHICH December)!

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

I have to say that usually most of the counters are manned (at least in my experience). The long waits are typically a result of volume, which hopefully the new airport will address.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

Does anyone know the significance of the giant teddy bear?

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