Qatar Today - - AFFAIRS > LOCAL -

The soft launch of the Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port (HIA) on April 30 saw the first com­mer­i­cal air­craft land at the new fa­cil­ity. Cur­rently open to 10 bud­get air­lines, HIA is ex­pected to be­come fully op­er­a­tional from May 27. with all air­lines, in­clud­ing Qatar Air­ways, fly­ing out from there.

Several dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing the Min­is­ter for Trans­port HE Jas­sim Saif Ahmed Al Su­laiti , Chair­man of the Civil Avi­a­tion Authority and the New Doha In­ter­na­tional Air­port Project Steer­ing Com­mit­tee, HE Ab­du­laziz Mo­hammed Al Noaimi and Qatar Air­ways CEO Ak­bar Al Baker, ar­rived as the first pas­sen­gers on the flight that landed at HIA, just min­utes be­fore a Fly Dubai flight touched the tar­mac, fly­ing in the first com­mer­cial pas­sen­gers to the air­port.

HE Al Naomi called this a land­mark mo­ment for Qatar and said that the HIA was the “pride of Qataris and also the fu­ture generations to come.” Built at an es­ti­mated cost of $15 bil­lion, HIA will ini­tially have the ca­pac­ity to han­dle 30 mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year. Al Baker, brush­ing aside a ques­tion about the de­lays, said that “it is time to for­get the past. The de­lay had slightly dis­turbed several of the new des­ti­na­tions we had planned for Qatar Air­ways but now that the air­port is fully func­tional, we ex­pect to ex­pand even more rapidly.”

The new air­port in­cludes a 300,000 sq. ft. re­tail gallery, a 23,000 sq. ft. mosque, two 100-room, five-star trans­fer ho­tels, a health spa, a 3,431-car park garage and a 742,000 sq. ft. flight cater­ing fa­cil­ity. Phase 1 and 2 con­courses in­clude 41 con­tact gates and 20 re­mote­s­tand gates.

The Open­ing of HIA is also good news for Qatar Air­ways as its first three A380s, which are due to ar­rive in June, will be able to op­er­ate out of an air­port with fa­cil­i­ties de­signed to ac­com­mo­date the dou­ble-decker air­craft.

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