The old airport in Qatar will be reopened for passenger flight operations for four weeks during the FIFA World Cup 2022, a senior Qatar Airways (QA) official said in Doha on Tuesday.
The Doha International Airport (DIA), which is also known as the old airport, was replaced as the country’s principal airport by the Hamad International Airport (HIA) in 2014. Now, almost all of Qatar’s passenger flight operations are run out of HIA, with DIA serving as an auxiliary airport mostly for military, royal or chartered flight operations.
However, with the world cup expected to bring in fans in massive numbers every day for a month between November and December 2022, the services of DIA are necessary, QA Vice President for Strategy and Customer experience Sujata Suri said.
“The old airport is very much being used,” Suri said at a conference held as part of the Cityscape Qatar real estate exhibition that began in Doha on Tuesday.
“Qatar Airways still runs its general aviation operations out of there. A large part of the Amiri flight operations also functions out of there. The military has taken over the eastern part of the runway for development for the military aircraft the country is going to acquire over the next few years,” she said.
“We have decided to commission DIA back in action for four weeks during the FIFA World Cup because we intend to take the general aviation, the point to point traffic, back into DIA.”
HIA replaced DIA as Qatar’s main airport following a period of rapid development in Qatar’s aviation market, which saw the number of airline passengers coming in and going out of the country jump from 5 million to 25 million. Peter Daley, the Project Director of HIA’s expansion project, said the original design capacity of the Hamad International Airport was around 28 million passengers. By attaining operational efficiencies, HIA can now handle more than 35 million passengers per annum.
In the next three years, HIA will be able to draw 30 percent more passenger footfalls in the next as it readies itself to handle an influx of visitors for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
HIA plans to increase its capacity to accommodate 53 million passengers annually by 2022, which is one of the several objectives of the second phase of its expansion project. The details of this phase were revealed to an international audience of real estate developers and investors at the Cityscape Qatar exhibition.
Source: www.caa.gov.qa, Image credit: wikipedia.org