Doha’s new Hamad International Airport (HIA) (also called NDIA – new Doha international airport) commenced soft-launch operations yesterday, when a special A320 flight QR7450 of national carrier Qatar Airways landed at the airport. The flight which greeted by the traditional water cannon salute by the airport’s ARFF team carried a team of dignitaries led by Qatar’s minister for transportation Mr. Jassim Al Sulaiti, NDIA Project Director, Mr. Bernardo Gognathe the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker.
Ten airlines are initially operating out of the new $17 billion facility; including Air India Express, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, flydubai, Air Arabia, Iran Air, Yemenia Airways, Pakistan International Airlines, Nepal Airlines, Syrian Air and Pegasus Airlines. All other carriers including Qatar Airways are due to switch their operations from May 27.
The airport will opening with an initial capacity of 30 million passengers. The passenger terminal is 600,000 sq. metres with three concourses and 33 contact gates. This will eventually be increased to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the A380. Once fully open, the terminal will have 16 lounges, 26 art installations, over 100 food and beverage, and retail outlets, a transit hotel, a swimming pool, a luxury spa, squash courts and a four-storey catering facility. A 500 worshipper public mosque is also built on the site.
HIA and Airport City (together comprising the NDIA project) spans 29 square kilometres, 60% on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf. The project includes 100 buildings of various uses.