Browsing 'doha international airport' News

Donald Trump 1

Gage Skidmore/ flickr

Donald Trump

US presidential hopeful and business tycoon Donald Trump has described Qatar’s airport as “incredible,” “gorgeous” and “one of the most beautiful airports I’ve ever seen,” during several occasions while on the campaign trail in the US over the past few months.

Most recently, he complimented airport facilities this week in Manchester, New Hampshire, calling American counterparts like LaGuardia in New York “third world” and “horrible” by comparison, CNN Arabic reports.

Surprisingly, it appears Trump has not been extolling Qatar’s new Hamad International Airport (HIA), but instead the old Doha International Airport (DIA).

Before it closed permanently last year, DIA was frustrated many residents who complained it was too small and outdated.

However, DIA’s premium terminal for business and first-class passengers was popular due to its many amenities, including massage chairs and a hot tub.

In April, Trump recalled a long-ago visit to Qatar in which a top-ranking official gave him a tour of DIA. When he extolled the building, the official told him that the terminal was being knocked down and a new one was being built.

Trump also commended the beauty of other Gulf airports including in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain during separate campaign rallies in recent months.

Gulf hotels

Despite his love of those facilities, the candidate has made several controversial statements regarding the Gulf, saying for example that he was “not a fan” of Saudi Arabia and that the US had paid too much to “back them up.”

Trump hotel in Chicago

Viaggio Routard/Flickr

Trump hotel in Chicago

Still, the business tycoon has previously expressed interest in expanding his hotel empire into the Gulf. Hotelier Middle East reported his daughter and executive vice-president of development and acquisitions as saying last year:

“Dubai is a top priority city for us. We are looking at multiple opportunities in Abu Dhabi, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia, so those are the four areas where we are seeing the most interest. We haven’t made a final decision in any of the markets but we have many very compelling deals in each of them.”

Trump is currently the front-running candidate among more than a dozen people vying to represent the conservative Republican party ahead of the US presidential elections in 2016.

It remains to be seen whether he will get the nomination, after alienating several minority groups in the US, including Hispanics, homosexuals and Muslims, with recent remarks.

Hamad International Airport

Last month, Qatar’s new airport was voted the sixth best in the world, according to a recent survey by Conde Nast Traveller readers.

This is the first time the airport has made the UK lifestyle travel magazine’s shortlist.

Hamad International Airport

Takahiro Hayashi/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

HIA came just behind Dubai International, which ranked fifth and was hailed for its shopping opportunities.

Plans are now underway to expand HIA to accommodate some 50 million travelers a year, as Doha becomes an increasingly popular transit hub.

The project should be completed by 2020, an official with the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee said last month.

Thoughts?

Rodel Vinluan

Rodel Vinluan

Rodel Vinluan, a Qatar Airways CCTV and access control security agent, has been honored for helping to capture seven men suspected of stealing $82,500 (QR301,125) from a Turkish passenger at Doha International Airport in January.

Earlier this week, the 38 year-old Filipino expat received a certificate of appreciation from the ambassador of the Philippine embassy in Qatar.

The event took place last Sunday, on Migrant Workers Day, a day that provides recognition to all Filipinos working overseas.

Speaking to Doha News, Leny Cleofas, an embassy welfare officer, said:

“We wanted to reward Rodel for his outstanding performance. As Filipinos, we are very proud of what he did, and he is not the first Filipino to rightfully return lost money to its owner.”

Cleofas was referring to an incident last November, in which a 24-year-old Filipino expat turned in a lost bag containing QR50,000 in cash, a check for QR200,000 and an iPhone.

Vinluan has also received recognition from Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar al-Baker, who in a letter wrote:

“You provided excellent service to a passenger in need and demonstrated the value that an effective security team provides at Doha International Airport.”

Details of incident

The incident took place during Vinluan’s night shift at the Doha International Airport on Jan. 18, 2014. A Turkish passenger claimed to have left his briefcase which contained $82,500, in the airport’s restroom.

After he reported that the case had gone missing, Vinluan said he and his colleagues spent hours looking through CCTV footage to find that a Malaysian man had taken the briefcase and then divided the money between himself and six others.

The passengers had been preparing to board their flight to Italy when they were apprehended by authorities.

Speaking to Doha News, Vinluan recalled the event:

“It was one of the biggest cases we have seen take place. My colleagues and I were on duty for 16 hours that night, collaborating with the Ministry of Interior to try and get to the bottom of the incident.”

The case is now going through Qatar’s court system, and those involved are still being investigated, including the Turkish passenger himself.

The requirement to declare currency while traveling during varies by country. According to the IATA’s website, Qatar’s customs laws do not require passengers to declare money when passing through the airport.

However, the Turkish passenger failed to declare to authorities in his home country that he was carrying more than $5,000 when he left.

DIA was an international hub for transiting passengers, and with the opening of Hamad International Airport on April 30, the number of transit passengers has been steadily increasing.

To ensure security, HIA has set up a new camera system, according to Vinluan.

“We have been spending almost all of our time studying where to put each and every camera. We’ve put a lot of investigation into ensuring that by the end of it all, the whole airport has camera coverage,” he added.

Thoughts?

Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Qatar customs declarations do not require currency to be declared. However, other countries have different rules. Additionally, the nationality of one of the arrested people has been removed the Embassy of Malaysia in Qatar and the Capitol Police Station have confirmed that no Malaysians were jailed following the incident.

One of the last flights to pass over West Bay before routes changed today to head to the new Hamad International Airport.

Ameer Abdul Razak

One of the last flights to pass over West Bay before routes changed today to head to the new Hamad International Airport.

Wondering how things looked at Qatar’s airports this morning? Here’s an explanation of how things went as several carriers moved from the Doha International Airport to the new Hamad International Airport.

And here’s what the shift looked like in pictures:

The parking lot at Doha International Airport's Departures terminal this morning was silent and empty.

Ankita Menon

The parking lot at Doha International Airport's Arrivals terminal this morning was silent and empty.

Signage instructs passengers how to get to Hamad International Airport.

Ankita Menon

Signage instructs passengers how to get to Hamad International Airport.

One of a few taxis that could be seen outside of the emptying Doha International Airport this morning.

Nada Badawi

One of a few taxis that could be seen outside of the emptying Doha International Airport this morning.

The Departures terminal at the Doha International Airport sat empty this morning.

Nada Badawi

The arrivals terminal at the Doha International Airport sat empty this morning.

After HIA officially opened before 10am, Doha International Airport cleared its flight information sign boards.

Nada Badawi

After HIA officially opened before 10am, Doha International Airport cleared its flight information sign boards.

The Coffee Beanery at the Arrivals terminal of the Doha International Airport was being completely dismantled today, as movers shifted furniture into large trucks.

Nada Badawi

The Coffee Beanery at the Arrivals terminal of the Doha International Airport was being completely dismantled today, as movers shifted furniture into large trucks.

Staff at DIA scrap old papers, luggage tags and other items before heading over to the new Hamad International Airport.

Ankita Menon

Staff at DIA scrap old papers, luggage tags and other items before heading over to the new Hamad International Airport.

Buses line up to take Doha International Airport staff to the new airport this morning.

Ankita Menon

Buses line up to take Doha International Airport staff to the new airport this morning.

A sign welcomes travelers to the new Hamad International Airport.

Fadi Benni

A sign welcomes travelers to the new Hamad International Airport.

Travelers begin streaming into the Hamad International Airport, which fully opened to passenger traffic this morning.

Fadi Benni

Travelers begin streaming into the Hamad International Airport, which fully opened to passenger traffic this morning.

A Qatar Airways staffer issues a boarding card for a traveler.

Fadi Benni

A Qatar Airways staffer issues a boarding card for a traveler.

Staff from the St. Regis Doha hotel greet new HIA passengers with water and teddy bears.

Peter Kovessy

Staff from the St. Regis Doha hotel greet new HIA passengers with water and teddy bears.

Staffers prepare for passenger traffic, which was light this morning.

Peter Kovessy

Staffers prepare for passenger traffic, which was light this morning.

Cabin crew and several other Qatar Airways staff are getting their first look at Hamad International Airport today.

Peter Kovessy

Cabin crew and several other Qatar Airways staff are getting their first look at Hamad International Airport today.

This bookstore is one dozens of shops that are expected to open today to passengers.

Peter Kovessy

This bookstore is one dozens of shops that are expected to open today to passengers.

How the Arrivals board looked when Hamad International Airport opened fully to passenger traffic this morning.

Peter Kovessy

How the Arrivals board looked when Hamad International Airport opened fully to passenger traffic this morning.

Did you fly through DIA or HIA today? Thoughts?


For those who have never been to HIA before, here is a helpful guide to navigating the new airport.

And for those who are feeling nostalgic, here’s a list of what we’ll miss (and won’t miss) about Doha’s old airport.