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Friday, September 17, 2021

Qatar’s Hamad International Airport mulls adding valet parking service

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Hamad International Airport

Hamad International Airport (HIA) is apparently considering plans to introduce valet parking as one of a number of new measures to make it easier for travelers departing from the facility.

The airport is currently in talks with a number of contractors to provide the valet service and other services for frequent fliers and other visitors, the Peninsula quotes an unnamed HIA source as saying.

There are no further details of what these new services may be, but they are scheduled to come online this year, the newspaper added.

Long-term parking offered at Hamad International Airport.
Free long-term parking is offered at Hamad International Airport.

The airport currently has two parking options for travelers. The short-term car park provides a paid-for facility that is within easy walk of the terminal and is equipped with ramps and lifts for those with luggage.

Meanwhile, free parking is available in the long-stay car park that opened in June last year.

However, travelers are required to take a shuttle bus from the lot to the airport terminal, and many have complained of inadequate space on the bus for luggage and passengers, especially at peak travel times.

As such, more residents and visitors say they are being dropped off with their bags at the terminal, leaving friends or family members to park without having to struggle with multiple bags.

Also, many frequent flyers prefer to use the airport parking rather than rely on taxi services, particularly if they have flights which arrive back in Doha in the early hours of the morning, when there can be a shortage of cabs.

HIA has yet to respond to requests from Doha News for confirmation on new plans.

Al Maha delays

 

Meanwhile, airport operator Qatar Airways has confirmed that its launch of new Saudi Arabian airline Al Maha Airways has been pushed back again by up to 18 months due to “complicated” bureaucracy, according to reports.

Al Maha Airways logo
Al Maha Airways logo

The national flag carrier’s CEO Akbar Al Baker said the airline may not be up and running until summer 2016, adding: “We expect to have a six to 18 month waiting period before the operation starts,” Arab News reports.

The national carrier was awarded the right to operate within KSA in December 2012, as part of a plan to meet rising domestic aviation demand in the kingdom.

It was due to start operations in September 2014, but in May last year hit problems with licensing.

At the time, a Qatar Airways spokesman told Doha News that Al Maha Airways is “on track” to begin operations “by the end of 2014.” A spokesman for the airline previously said:

“Al Maha Airways are currently going through the standard process in order to obtain their Air Operator Certificate (AOC).  An AOC is the approval, given by a national aviation authority, in order to allow an airline to operate its aircraft for commercial flights.”

The airline is due to fly domestically, with initial routes to include Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Abha and Qassim, Al Baker is reported to have said, in response to the latest delays.

The airline will sport the Qatar Airways oryx logo, but it will be in green instead of maroon, to match Saudi’s national colors.

Bloomberg has previously reported that the airline will launch with a fleet of 10 Airbus aircraft, although the airline has not yet disclosed its plans for staffing of the new airline.

Thoughts?

22 COMMENTS

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Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago

Maybe the airport can sort out those free strollers it says on its website it has or let airlines deliver them to the plane ramp when arriving into Doha. Did the strollers ever exist? Rumour has it people just strolled them out and into the boot of their car.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago

The long term car park is a disaster. The shuttles, which don’t seem to run on any schedule at all, are inadequate and not designed for the job they are doing. Secondly, they pick up not just the long term parking but also the staff parking. So after you get on the shuttle, then you drive around for 30 more minutes picking up airport staff. Then all parties are dropped off at the same stop. Did the airport operator not at least go to another facility and see how a long term parking lot works? They have dedicated busses with luggage racks etc. Not the leftover Nissan Civilian vans from the airport construction….some of the issues with things like this are so common sense it just makes one question the whole operation. I mean where else was a corner cut?

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

And there does not seem to be a path to just walk to the terminal, which isn’t that far. You have to walk along the shoulder of a busy road to get up there.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  jalong

Walking is out of the question, if there was a tunnel that connected the long term lot to the terminal, that would be great!

Jason
Jason
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

Absolutely boggles my mind how their long term car park shuttles have zero space for luggage whatsoever! Its just a tiny isle with a couple seats on one side, a single seat on the other. No overhead, no undercarriage stowage. NOTHING. You’d assume people travelling on “long term parking” needs are going to have baggage to take with them. The ineptitude of management is staggering.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Jason

But they have nice shops in the terminal where you can buy more overpriced rubbish….That was one of the Al Bakrs big statements wasn’t it… “Its the best airport in the world because we have all the luxury brands”…..jee whiz….

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

I can’t think of any airport where the long term parking is free. A little inconvenience on the shuttle buses, is nothing compared to the hefty parking fees at other international airports.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Exactly. Free long term parking isn’t good enough for the serial complainers in Doha. No no, we can’t be expected to park in the long term car park, or even the short term carpark. We demand to drive our car to the door of the airport and have the valet parking attendant park the vehicle.

If the airport had been designed like any other normal airport, whereby you can easily push your bag from carpark to checkin without the use of ramps, lifts, escalators and pedestrian crossings, none of this would be an issue.

For an airport that cost billions of dollars and was delayed year after year to be ‘improved’, you do have to wonder what it would have been like had it just been built as initially planned.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Not sure this is a “serial complainer” issue, this is really about common sense. It doesn’t matter if its free or paid (given the extortive rates we pay for the privilege to fly in and out of that airport, I would contend its not free) it should be designed to work, period. This has nothing to do with being lazy or having to have a valet. I would personally prefer avoiding anything where additional labor exploitation can occur, and that is one of them. I would simply like to drop my car off at the airport, take a proper, scheduled shuttle to the terminal and get on my flight without having to worry as to whether there is going to be a shuttle that gets there on time and if my bags are going to be able to get on it. I want to deal with as few people in the process as I possibly can. If that means I pay 10 QR a day to park the car and in return I get a system that works, so be it. For an airport that sells itself (and its airline) as some kind of five star experience, it simply is struggling to get to any stars in the basics. Its as if we had to have a tradeoff between a giant useless piece of bear art and a functional parking lot.

Al
Al
6 years ago
Reply to  Cerebus

The only reason parking is free is because HIA can’t get its act together to start charging. It ain’t charity, it’s mismanagement.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Al

Oh, this I understand seeing the unfinished toll gates at the front of the entrance (the exit is fun finding as well, as its poorly marked). If you pay attention you can see all the stuff that is actually not finished, those being one. The tram that goes from the A,B,C main terminal to the D,E terminals has a track, but the stations are not completed (could be part of the expansion), there is still construction ongoing with all the lounges, the entire D,E space seems like a temp facility, and even the restrooms seem partially completed in some areas. One in particular had in place what I can assume were temporary fixtures that appeared to have been salvaged from a subcontinent 1950s era cricket stadium. I can see now why they were delaying the opening, as it seems no one ever really finished the thing.

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

You mean those international airports with good mass transit going to the airport, thus making a car trip unnecessary?

And nobody is asking for foot massages and champagne on the shuttles, just buses dedicated to travelers with space for luggage–I’d even pay for it.

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

Sorry, just to say, if you’re travelling with family, drop them off at the departure entrance first (with all the bags), park up and hop on a bus back to the airport.

edz
edz
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

plain common sense idea.

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

I have a name for the service: “Jaldi-Jaldi” 🙂 I’m waiting for QA to announce introducing shisha in-flight. Now that would truly be a statement and a commitment to traditional values. Forget the cheap meals and alcohol they serve…Shisha and chai all the way and I’d honestly fly only with them. Hope their appropriate depts. read this and act. Just in case, no shred of sarcasm here, I’d actually like this.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

I am having a mental image of the in-flight Shisha lounges, which will be delayed because of not meeting the interior finishing standards of QA. Though to give it the true cultural experience, the Shisha lounge would need a track for Land Cruisers to drive around it, or at least to a juice stall in the back of the plane.

Susan
Susan
6 years ago

I had opportunity to use the long-term car park over the winter break and found it to be a mixed bag. Pros: it’s free, shuttle buses picked me up quickly, I easily found my way into terminal and check-in. Cons: the buses clearly weren’t designed for travelers in mind (they’re for employees without baggage) so I saw one traveler struggle to hoist his 2 check-in bags onto the bus. And while getting back to my car was fast and painless, getting out of the long-term car park and back home wasn’t easy to do at night. Signage needs improved both at the airport and along the various roads (F-ring road is not finished, so why let drivers take it?). And HIA needs to update their website to reflect all this.

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Actually F-Ring Road is a good option if you go West and South Doha. You drive F-Ring up to Church Complex.

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

The free long term car park helps, especially for families who had to find other ways to the airport in the past where taxis were out of the question with regards to kids car seats and I don’t want to travel with both a car seat and pushchair.
I drop family off at terminal, park car then walk to terminal. The road you have to cross is always very quite and it normally quicker than waiting for a bus. Although I don’t think you can call them buses.
One day they will get round to installing the barrier and the car park won’t be free anymore. I wont mind this if there are proper shuttle busses and a walk way to the terminal. Unfortunately we have to wait another 4/5 years until we can ride the metro straight to the airport

Gicku
Gicku
6 years ago

The major disaster is that there is no public transport to and from the Airport. Why the government is not addressing the issue?

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Gicku

Because you don’t matter. Only expats would lower themselves to public transport…a local would never even dream of such an indignity….

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

There is such thing as lemo service. I’m from here and we used it, so shut up if you don’t know and obviously you don’t.

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