The State of Qatar is ready to welcome a new chapter in the country’s remarkable aviation industry with preparations well underway for the April 1 first phase opening of the new Hamad International Airport to be operated by national carrier Qatar Airways.
Details of the soft launch opening were unveiled to an audience of more than 100 airport officials and airline executives in Doha today at an event jointly organised by Qatar Airways, the Hamad International Airport’s Operational Readiness and Airport Transition (ORAT) team and Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).
QCAA Chairman H. E. Abdul Aziz Al Noiami, spelled out the plans for the airport’s readiness, in which Qatar Airways will play a pivotal role.
The first phase of the US$15.5 billion project involves 12 international passenger airlines becoming the launch carriers of the new facility from April 1. These include low-cost airlines.
Qatar Airways will move its entire operations to Hamad International Airport in the second half of the year. Until recently, the airport was known under the project working name New Doha International Airport (NDIA).
Qatar Airways will work closely with the first movers to ensure a smooth transition of flights from the current Doha International Airport.
With the phased approach, Doha will have a dual airport operation until full operations begin at Hamad International in the second half of 2013.
Abdul Aziz Al Noami said: “Hamad International Airport will truly be a global showpiece that the State of Qatar will justifiably be proud of.
“I am delighted to say that we have indeed succeeded in living up to the vision of His Highness The Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani to create a world-class international gateway that will firmly put our country on the global stage.
“The airlines that we will shortly welcome to Hamad International Airport will make history becoming the first commercial operators of flights to and from the world’s newest aviation hub from April 1.
“2005 seems like only yesterday when the foundation stone was laid for work to start on the new airport project. Eight years on and we are just weeks away from the latest chapter in the airport’s history with the start of operations.
“A new workplace and stunning architectural masterpiece will enhance the skyline of Doha providing new surroundings for airport employees and the travelling public from around the world.”
Al Noaimi went on to explain that the cargo operations and catering facilities will be ready for operations within weeks.
From March, freight forwarders and agents in Qatar will process import and export consignments at Hamad International Airport. Cargo uplift and arrivals will remain at Doha International Airport from where shipments will be transported by road to the new facility.
Cargo flights operated by Qatar Airways and other freighter companies are expected to begin to and from Hamad International from the summer.
Al Noaimi explained the next few months will see the new catering facility open in phases at Hamad International, initially handling meals for airlines operating from the new airport. Starting in the summer the catering facility, capable of handling almost 100,000 meals a day, will supply meals for all flights operating from both airports.
He went on to say that trials of various facilities involving passengers and cargo have been in place for over six months. He added that mass trials involving hundreds of passengers at a time will soon begin at the passenger terminal complex of Hamad International ahead of the April opening.
“By working with Qatar Airways and the various stakeholders, live trials have been carried out to validate all operational flows in the airport as if the airport is totally functional,” said Al Noiami.
“We are confident that we will have a fully functional and highly efficient airport to welcome our national carrier Qatar Airways when they move to their spectacular new home towards the second part of the year.”
Hamad International Airport will accommodate 28 million passengers annually when it opens this year, increasing to 50 million beyond 2015.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “2013 is an historic year for the State of Qatar, Qatar Airways and the country’s young aviation industry.
“Qatar Airways, as the operator of the new Hamad International Airport and main user of the facility, looks forward to welcoming airlines and passengers to the airport in just a few weeks’ time opening up a new era for our country.
“This will be a world class facility that promises to propel our nation further on the international stage. Of course the story doesn’t end here.
“Later this year, Qatar Airways will move its entire operations to Hamad International Airport, as all airport lounges are expected to be ready and fully operational by then ensuring that all our passengers have a truly world class experience that they fully deserve.
“These are exciting times for our aviation industry and the people of Qatar, so let us relish the moment.”