Flying high: Hamad International Airport: Unique in many ways

February 18, 2013 - 12:00:00 am

By Satish Kanady

The opening of Qatar’s much-awaited Hamad International Airport (HIA) will not only enhance the country’s position as a global gateway, but the stunning facility will be part of the City life too.

In the planned surrounding HIA Airport City, spread across the sprawling 10km2, an estimated 200,000 people are expected to live and work. Perhaps, this is the first serious effort anywhere in the world that offers an interface between an international airport and the City it serves. Unlike other international airports, the HIA has been positioned as an integral part of the city.

The HIA and the Airport City are located on what is principally reclaimed land along the coastline of Doha, directly adjacent to the heart of the city. The Airport City is planned to bring visitors and residents together in the middle of Qatar’s capital not just for the purpose of transit, but to optimise the cultural and commercial opportunities presented by an international airport at the centre of the Gulf region.

Arguably with the world’s longest runway, the iconic airport is unique in many ways. The runway’s approach lights will extend into the sea. With an 85m tall crescent moon-inspired Air Traffic Control Tower and a hangar with the widest open span door in the world with movable docking system allowing for flexible aircraft parking within the hangar, the airport is exceptional.

Stretched across 29 square kilometres, the airport will include multi-concourse Terminal 1, Emiri terminal, a mosque, second passenger terminal, vehicle rental and car facilities, cargo, maintenance hangar and catering facilities.

The water droplet-inspired structure of the mosque has a glass shell with a gently domed roof, which can accommodate 500 worshipers.

In alignment with the aims of the Qatar 2030 planning and those of the HIA masterplan intentions, public transport opportunities will be maximised in the planning in addition to those provided for cycling and walking. Private motor vehicles are easily accessible and of a very high standard to ensure the viability of their use. There will be extra focus on an efficient street and public transport network that serves to promote energy efficiency and mitigate excessive travel times and distances.

The transport hub created by Terminal 2 Complex will attract travelers and the development area will be commercially attractive to developers.

Rail, Metro, Bus and extensive road network that link the Business District will create an interface between this area of the HIA Airport City and the centre of Doha.

The three functional zones of the Terminal are the rail concourse and business centre; Terminal two, and the Event Plaza, which connects the Air and Rail functions of the development. The Terminal will be an airside-landside link and an area where local and international business will converge.

In the levels beneath the air terminal, the Metro (Red Line) and LDR rail links stations provide links for passengers to greater Doha and future rail services to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Their terminal complex will also include a bus station providing transportation to the Midfield of HIA as well as the centre of Doha.

The airside and servicing components of the Terminal 2 Complex area arranged in the form of a stepped podium, which by means of its form,  effectively manages the flow of passengers throughout the facility and maintains the requirement for spatial flexibility.

Sea Rescue: The move in location for HIA from Doha International Airport has presented a need for purpose-built Sea Rescue Facilities to be operated by the Coasts and Borders Security department. The department would maintain and secure HIA’s shoreline perimeter, and lead operational readiness for immediate and effective emergency response for search and rescue in the event of an aircraft’s emergency.

As part of operational response, two sea rescue facilities will be positioned, each sited to respond to emergency circumstances to the north or to the south of the dual runways. The primary facility located to the north of HIA houses the majority of on-duty response personnel and all administrative staff along with associated operational support, whilst the secondary southern facility serves a core team of on-duty personnel to be deployed in the event of an emergency or security incursion to the airport’s sea perimeter.The Peninsula