DOHA: A Qatar Airways flight from Bahrain — QR 1113 — touched down at the Hamad International Airport (HIA) at 9:10am yesterday, marking the full opening of the new multi-billion airport.
About 45,000 passengers used the airport on the first day, who were served by a team of 11,000 employees deployed at its wide ranging facilities, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told the media later.
All 29 airlines operating daily from Doha have now moved from the Doha International Airport (DIA) to the new aviation hub.
HIA marked the occasion by distributing gifts to the passengers to congratulate them on being part of this important moment in Qatar’s aviation history. Passengers departing on the first 10 flights from HIA were greeted with roses, dates and Qatari flags.
They were also able to take advantage of the many new services available at HIA, from the free Wi-Fi to play areas for children, multiple quiet areas to relax, and the amazing array of shopping and eating options.
The airlines that shifted operations to the new airport yesterday were British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Egyptair, Emirates, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, MEA Middle East Airlines, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines and Qatar Airways.
The Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani inspected the operations at the airport yesterday, along with the Minister of Transport HE Jassim bin Seif Al Sulaiti and Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning HE Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani.
‘The new airport is well equipped to support the massive developments in Qatar in different areas and the transfer of all airlines to the airport is a test for its capacity,” Al Sulaiti told the media. He didn’t disclose the date for the official opening of the airport.
Abdul Aziz Al Noaimi, Chairman of the airport’s Steering Committee, said that the third phase of construction at HIA will begin next year and will be completed within the allotted cost.
The design for the third phase is almost complete and tenders will be invited early next year. Construction works in this phase will last for two years, he added.
The number of passengers who used the airport on the first day ranged between 40,000 to 45,000, Al Sharq quoted Al Baker as saying. Transfer to the new airport will help the expansion of Qatar Airways by about 30 per cent in terms of destinations and number of flights, he added.
“Qatar Airways will be able to offer an exceptional passenger experience, as HIA has been designed with passengers foremost in mind.
“The airport will also be able to accommodate the world’s largest aircraft, such as our much-anticipated Qatar Airways Airbus A380 which will commence operations to the UK in June and France in July,” said Al Baker.
HIA also celebrated the day by introducing its new social media platforms and website. Passengers looking for further information on airport, transport, flights and airline operations can now visit www.dohahamadairport.com, or alternatively check updates via HIA’s new social media channels including; Twitter (@HIAQatar), Facebook (Hamad International Airport) and Instagram (HIAQatar).
Positioned at the edge of the Arabian Gulf, the new airport is set in a tranquil waterside setting that provides a perfect backdrop for its stylish architectural elements, underpinned by advanced airport systems.
HIA features two runways, among the longest in the world, a state-of-the-art air traffic control tower, a stunning passenger terminal with an initial design capacity of 30 million passengers per year and 8,700 customers per hour, as well as a uniquely shaped public mosque.
With more than 70 retail outlets offering an unprecedented selection of designer labels, high street fashion, electronics, gourmet foods and much more, Qatar Duty Free at HIA also has more than 30 cafes and restaurants with a sumptuous selection of global and local cuisine.
All passengers travelling via HIA are advised to arrive three hours before their flight, with check-in closing one hour before departure for Economy Class, and 45 minutes before departure for First and Business Class. e-Gates are already operational in both the departures and arrivals areas, offering holders of an e-Gate Card a swift journey through the new airport.
The new airport is located on the East coast of the peninsula, just 16km from the centre of Doha and 4km from DIA. Due to an elaborate newly-built road infrastructure surrounding HIA, arrival time to the airport is around 25 minutes, depending on traffic. Passengers can travel to HIA via car, bus, taxi or limo services. The Peninsula