Hamad International Airport: Qatar’s five-star gateway to the world

Guest Author by Guest Author | Mar 1, 2017

Written by Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer, Hamad International Airport

Hamad International Airport (HIA) is Qatar’s five-star gateway to the world and home to Qatar Airways, Qatar’s national carrier. Designed to support and sustain Qatar’s historic development as a nation, HIA supports the exponential increase in Qatar’s capacity to handle international movements of people, goods, capital, knowledge and technology.

HIA’s passenger terminal complex covers 600,000 square metres, while the airport itself covers 22 square kilometres, representing an area one-third of the size of Doha, the capital of the State of Qatar. The airport was built upon 60% reclaimed land from the Arabian Gulf. It has the capacity to handle 8,700 passengers per hour, or 30 million passengers per annum. The airport’s capacity will climb to 50 million when the second phase is complete.


The airport has been designed to immerse passengers in a world of luxury, providing a seamless and hassle-free travel experience. The departures area includes 25,000 square metres of prime retail space, rivalling the world’s leading department stores. Indeed, Qatar Duty Free, the airport’s duty free operator, has already established itself as a prestigious shopping destination in its own right. An additional 15,000 square metres of space includes more than 30 cafés and restaurants that offer a selection of global and local cuisine.

HIA features 12 different lounges spread across more than 80,000 square metres, befitting the five-star hospitality of Qatar Airways and the luxurious airport. HIA also features an airside hotel, two airside squash courts, a gym, and a 25-metre swimming pool and spa, all within easy reach of the departure gates.


HIA features dual runaways measuring 4,850 metres and 4,250 metres, built to welcome the next generation of aircraft, including Qatar Airways’ A380 fleet. The dual runway operation can handle 100 aircraft per hour, or 360,000 aircraft movements annually.

Ever growing passenger and aircraft traffic

HIA set new records for passenger traffic and aircraft movements in 2016, handling 37.3 million passengers and 245,800 landings and take-offs during the year. This outstanding performance represents an increase of 20.5% and 15.8% respectively over 2015. On the cargo front, airfreight, which encompasses both cargo and mail, grew by 20.8%, reaching a new high of 1.7 million tonnes for the year. During 2016, HIA saw its network expand with Qatar Airways connecting Doha directly to 14 new destinations.

During 2016, HIA invested in improving its product offering and redesigning its operational processes to efficiently accommodate the increasing traffic forecasted for the coming years, while at the same time continuing to upgrade its award-winning services.

Advanced facilities, services and operational processes

Concourses D and E, commissioned in October 2015, became fully utilized in 2016, providing eight more contact gates for a total to 41, in addition to increasing the total number of flights departing from the contact gates. The additional 130,000 square metres of functional space has enhanced the passenger experience by enriching the retail offering and facilitating transfers. The airport has increased face-to-face interaction with passengers to assist them in way-finding with the introduction of multi-lingual roaming agents at key points of the passenger journey.

On the operations side, 15 new aircraft parking stands have been constructed to support the hub operation of Qatar Airways. HIA actively supported and contributed to the newly-established Qatar Slot Coordination, recognizing its key role in managing capacity in accordance with international best practices. In 2016, HIA also introduced the international best practice of Airport Collaborative Decision Making as a means of optimizing operational management.

Significant investment in best breed technology

Significant technological investments have been undertaken to facilitate faster passenger movement within the terminal.

HIA launched its dual passenger trains in the terminal in 2016, which has further enhanced the attractiveness of its transfer product. The two passenger trains are designed to shuttle travelers between the South and North nodes of the terminal, significantly reducing travel time through the airport for both arriving and departing passengers, including transfer passengers.

HIA commenced its phased integration of “Smart Airport” features in the terminal by integrating best of breed technologies that offer passengers more control and independence over their journey. From check-in to boarding, every step of the journey will be self-service-enabled to significantly improve efficiency and reduce waiting times, facilitating a fast and seamless passenger experience. Combined with the airport’s complimentary Wi-Fi and the iBeacon-enabled mobile app that offers wayfinding and context-relevant information, HIA’s passengers will truly enjoy an immersive travel experience.

Commitment to tackling climate change

HIA announced its long-term commitment to tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions by successfully renewing its participation in ACI’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. This includes a target to improve carbon efficiency by 30% by 2030, along with a series of initiatives to help save energy and optimize the consumption of vehicle fuel.

Globally, HIA is one of 173 airport carbon accredited airports, and uniquely, it is the only airport to have included carbon emissions generated since its very first day of operations in April 2014.

The article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of ACI, its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

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