HIA, gateway to Qatar
Qatar is emerging as a rising power of the Arabian Peninsula and the country is making every effort to make the world watch what it achieves. And Doha’s swanky new Hamad International Airport (HIA) is in fact the gateway to Qatar. It is a vital element of Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which sets out the roadmap for a unique national transition from reliance on petrochemical revenues to a diverse, knowledge-based economy. Badr Al Meer, chief operating officer, HIA, talks about how rapidly Qatar is becoming one of the world’s most developing business and travel destinations, as well as a key transit hub for many passengers due to the country’s location on the world map and the superior service it offers. With HIA opening what is the rate of growth you have seen over the last few months in traffic? Both in passenger and cargo? At Hamad International Airport (HIA), we have seen over 11 percent growth year-on-year for every single month since opening and we expect this figure to only grow as we continue the expansion of our world-class gateway. Similarly, our cargo figures have grown approximately 14 percent year-on-year with the opening of our state-of-the-art cargo facilities earlier this year, as Qatar Airways Cargo completed the transition from a manually handed cargo environment, to a fully automated terminal. Qatar Airways Cargo carries a large number of highly specialised and delicate goods such as famous art paintings, equestrian horses, high net worth sports vehicles and much more. What are some specific steps that HIA plans to launch keeping in mind that Qatar is becoming a venue for global events, the most important one is the FIFA World Cup in 2022. HIA was not only built with the FIFA World Cup 2022 in mind, but was also designed to support and sustain Qatar’s National Vision 2030. Qatar is rapidly becoming one of the world’s developing business and travel destinations, as well as a key transit hub for many passengers due to the country’s location on the world map and the superior service it offers. HIA currently has the capacity for 30 million passengers per year and that will grow to 50 million when it is fully completed. The airport is continually working to provide passengers with a world-class experience as for many passengers HIA is their first impression of Qatar. Currently, HIA offers our guests a multitude of facilities to enjoy whether they are departing, arriving or in transit, including a 100-room hotel located inside the terminal, a health club including a fully equipped gym, squash courts, a 25-metre swimming pool and spa facilities. To complement the state-of-the-art facilities of the airport, a wide range of food and beverage options are available, to suit the palate of every traveller. Recently launched dining options include three new restaurant concepts: Soprafino brought to HIA by celebrity Chef Massimo Capra, Qataf Café, and French bistro chain Le Grand Comptoir, offering sophisticated world-class cuisine. These dining venues are surrounded by more than 70 retail outlets, offering an unprecedented selection of designer labels, fashion, electronics, gourmet foods and much more. The recently opened Al Mourjan Business Lounge for Qatar Airways’ Premium passengers introduces luxury design, complemented with state-of-the-art technology to meet the needs and desires of premium travellers. Once at full capacity, HIA will have many more exciting facilities to offer passengers, to enhance their travel experience even further. Could you give us the most updated and the latest figures for traffic handled (both passenger and cargo) at HIA. From the official opening of HIA in April 2014 to October 2014 HIA has had more than 13 million passengers through the airport, and the cargo facility handled 410,211,545 tonnes of cargo. This represents a year-on-year growth of over 11 percent for every single month since the airport opened. The move of all operations to HIA not only enabled passenger capacity to increase, but also facilitated the growth of our cargo operations from a dedicated and fully automated terminal. Qatar Airways Cargo now serves more than 40 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide and also delivers freight to all 145 Qatar Airways business and leisure destinations around the globe.