DOHA: Once the state-of-the-art new airport Hamad International (HIA) is fully operational, a portion of the Doha International Airport (DIA) will be converted into “green area and roads”, H E Jassim Saif Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport said yesterday.
The Minister, while replying a question at a press conference held to announce the soft launch of the HIA, said: “We have some ideas for the DIA, which include conversion of some portion of the airport into green areas and roads, while the runway and some of the other facilities of the of the existing airport will be used by Gulf Helicopters and the Qatar Aeronautical College.”
However, he did not reveal the specific details about how the existing huge departure and arrival terminals and other buildings will be used or they will be demolished. The HIA, one of the world’s best airports and newest aviation hub, partially opened yesterday, about six years behind the initially planned commissioning date of 2008.
To a question whether the delay in the opening of the new airport had any impact on Qatar Airways, Abdulaziz Mohamed Al Noaimi, Chairman of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) Steering Committee (now HIA), acknowledged the airliner was affected in terms of expansion and the acquisition of new aircraft, saying that Qatar Airways will now return to its former ambition and speed up the execution of expansion plans and other programmes.
The airport’s steering committee will carry on present responsibilities until the 2022 World Cup as a third phase of the airport is still under construction as well as an airport city that will include a railway station, a market and a terminal.
The DIA was designed to accommodate nine million passengers but it was able to handle up to 19 million guests. He also noted that the new airport will bring huge economic benefits to the country, including promoting tourism and other related sectors.