The Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani unveiling the Oneworld Alliance with Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker at Hamad International Airport yesterday. Abdul Basit
DOHA: A symbolic Qatar Airways’ flight landed at the new airport (Hamad International) here yesterday to mark the national carrier joining a coveted alliance of global airlines.
The landing, however, affirmed the readiness of the new international airport to begin operating from early next year — plans the authorities announced recently.
The Qatar Airways’ plane that landed was a Boeing 3-777 and had logo of ‘Oneworld’.
Yesterday, a group of journalists — both, local and foreign — were taken on a tour of the new airport along with diplomats, senior government officials and businessmen.
The airport, which is a few kilometres from Doha, is a third of Doha city in size.
Passengers will have direct access to aircraft from the boarding gates, with 41 contact gates when the airport opens.
By 2015, upon final completion of the airport the number of gates will be increased to 65.
The airport will have moving sidewalks like most big and modern airports in the world have.
Due to its massive size, though, the car parking lots outside the terminals are quite huge with some visitors saying they are a bit far away.
The airport will handle 24 million passengers a year on initial opening, but the capacity will more than double to 50 million after the second phase is completed.
In other words, per hour passenger handling capacity of the new airport will work out to 8,700 — a big number.
More than a half (60 percent) of the airport is built on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf.
There will be 138 check-in counters spread across five islands. Of these, 108 counters will be for Qatar Airways economy class and other airlines.
There will be in all 50 passport control counters, 16 of them for Qatar Airways’ first and business class passengers, while the remaining 34 for other passengers.
There will be three e-gates for first class passengers and five e-gates for QA’s business class travellers. There will be a dozen e-gates for other passengers.
The airport will provide unique gallery-like experience, featuring spectacular art works by major international artists.
There will be dual runways systems that are two kilometres apart — 4,850 metre long Eastern runway, and 4,250 metre long Western runway. They are able to handle up to 100 aircraft per hour, a document on the new airport released yesterday said.
Catering services at the airport will be able to produce some 90,000 meals a day, employing 1,800 staff, including 350 highly trained chefs. A fleet of 7,000 vehicles will be pressed in service for catering alone, said the document. The Peninsula
Doha: Qatar Airways’ high-profile CEO, Akbar Al Baker, yesterday denied he was on his way out and said the talk about his exit was “false and spread by enemies”.
“I am a soldier of my government. This talk has been spread to de-motivate staff. The decision for me to stay or go is dependent on my ruler,” he said.
Replying to a question from wire agency Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference if he would be leaving his post, he dismissed this as “false talk spread by enemies”.