BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: The Hamad Inter-national Airport (HIA) is planning to introduce additional services including a valet parking facility for visitors and frequent fliers, according to a senior official.
“We are in the process of negotiating with some companies to introduce a few more services such as valet parking. The services are expected to be launched soon,” said the official who requested anonymity.
He said that the services will be launched this year.
He did not provide details of other types of services the airport is going to introduce.
The HIA is currently offering two types of parking facilities at the airport — short-term (paid parking) and long-term free parking. Most of the frequent fliers, attracted by the free-parking facility, prefer to come to the airport in their cars instead of relying on taxis.
Passengers availing the facility are required to take shuttle buses to access to the terminal, as the free-parking bay is located at a distance.
However, many passengers using the free bus service are averse to handling their luggage on their own while taking the bus service, so are demanding for a valet parking service at a minimum fee. “I won’t mind paying some QR20-30 if someone can safely park my car to the parking area on my behalf instead of me struggling to loading and unloading in the bus”, said an expatriate waiting for the bus at the free-parking bay.
Another passenger, working in a petrochemical company, said: “Offering free parking facility at the new airport is a great idea. For instance, I live in Al Wakra, and my nature of job requires me to travel frequently. But finding a taxi, especially in the early morning hours, is very difficult. So I prefer to take my car to the airport. It is very convenient for me.” He suggested that if a valet parking service at a nominal charge is introduced it can be beneficial for people like him. This can also help HIA to save a lot of overhead cost such as the money spent on shuttle buses.
Asked if the HIA was planning to do away with the existing system of free parking, the HIA official, said: “As of now I cannot say anything, but whenever we will introduce some fee, we will announce it much in advance so that passengers already using the free-parking facility are not caught with surprise when they return to Doha.” The Peninsula