Qatar’s new Hamad International Airport (HIA) has opened for routine passenger operations.
The new airport ‒ which hasn’t yet been allocated an IATA three-letter code code, though its official ICAO four-letter code is OTHH ‒ marked its soft launch on May 1 with a press conference at the HIA passenger terminal.
Present in front of the reporters attending the press conference were HE Mr. Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Qatar’s Minister of Transport, as well as members of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) Steering Committee and guests.
A Qatar Airways flight was the first passenger flight officially to arrive at the new airport, the Airbus A320 landing on HIA’s East Runway. The flight carried the Minister of Transport, the board members of the Steering Committee of NDIA and other delegates and received a water salute by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority Rescue Fire Fighting Services.
From May 1, 10 carriers began using the new passenger terminal at HIA. The remaining carriers at Qatar’s existing Doha International Airport (IATA code DH), including Qatar’s national carrier Qatar Airways, are expected to move to the new airport by May 27.
“HIA is a world-class aviation hub purpose-built to cater to rapidly evolving aviation and passenger needs of the 21st century,” said H.E. Mr. Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi, chairman of the NDIA Steering Committee.
“In fact, its capacity on opening day will be 30 million annual passengers, which is more than the initial plan. Initial capacity was expanded to accommodate the increased transit growth in Qatar over the course of the past decade,” said Al-Noaimi.
HIA and Airport City (which together comprise the NDIA project) span 29 square kilometers, 60 per cent of this area being on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf. The project includes 100 buildings of various uses.
The airport’s passenger terminal features an internal area of 600,000 square meters (6.46 million square feet) and has three concourses and 33 contact gates upon opening.
Its passenger-handling facilities will subsequently be increased to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the Airbus A380, in the final build-out.
Once fully open, the terminal will also feature 16 lounges, 26 art installations, more than 100 food and beverage and retail outlets, a transit hotel, a swimming pool, a luxury spa, squash courts and a four-story catering facility that is one of the largest in the world. The on-site public mosque can accommodate 500 worshipers at prayer time.