Qatar s much-delayed Hamad International Airport opens
Almasalla Arab Travel Portal News – Qatar s much-delayed Hamad International Airport has opened and welcomed its first commercial flight May 1.
The airport, designed to handle up to 30 million passengers per year, is reported to have cost around $15 billion as the Gulf state tries to establish itself as another Middle East hub.
Until the airport is fully opened at the end of May, it will serve mostly regional low-cost carriers. However, full-service carriers—such as Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline, Lufthansa, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Etihad Airways—are likely to take up slots in the next month or so.
With 138 check-in counters, and 65 gates across five separate terminal concourse buildings, the airport will also be able to handle Airbus A380 passenger traffic at eight gates.
Built mostly on reclaimed land, the new airport was started in 2004 to replace the existing Doha International Airport, but has seen many delays from the original target opening date in 2010.
The Qatari capital’s new airport had been due to open April 1, 2013—the most recent of several planned dates—but the opening ceremony was called off just hours before the first aircraft was due to touch down, apparently due to a failure to meet new safety and security requirements.
The airport, which is a major investment by Qatar, is currently being run with just 33 gates, but will expand over the next five years as demand ramps up, the operators said.
With more capacity planned—up to 70 million passengers per year has been reported—the airport is part of the Gulf state’s push to rival local Middle East airports as a key transport hub, buoyed partly by the award of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the construction of the New Port sea freight transport terminal in 2016.