Browsing 'hamad international airport' News

Hamad International Airport

Ken Yamaguchi / Flickr

Hamad International Airport

Qatar’s airport has once again been ranked among the best in the Middle East by travelers.

This week, Hamad International Airport came second in a passenger poll carried out by the Guide to Sleeping In Airports.

The website offers specific advice on spending the night in terminals around the world.

Hamad International Airport

Chantelle D'Mello / Doha News

Hamad International Airport

For this poll, travelers were asked to rate airports on several issues, including comfort, food options, immigration and cleanliness.

First on the Middle East list was Dubai International, followed by Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion, Amman’s Queen Alia and Beirut’s Rafic Hariri.

Earlier this year, HIA was also ranked second best in the region in the annual Airport Service Quality Awards (ASQ).

‘Hot on the heels’ of Dubai

According to Sleeping in Airports, HIA is “consistently hot on Dubai (airport’s) heels.”

It lauded the facility’s free WiFi, rest areas, playgrounds and spa among its best aspects.

A rest area at Hamad International Airport

Ken Yamaguchi/Flickr

A rest area at Hamad International Airport

However, it also mentioned drawbacks, which included “immigration queues and the lack of diverse food options.”

HIA is also rated on the Sleeping in Airports site as the seventh best airport in the world for layovers due to its transit hotel, plush lounges and quiet rooms.

Elsewhere in the region, Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport was ranked among the worst airports in the world this year.

According to travelers, immigration officers were “rude” and “arrogant,” and the heavily trafficked Hajj terminal lacked restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

Nominations for the website’s 2017 awards are now open.


Hamad International Airport

Sanjiban Ghosh/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

It will be at least a few more months before visitors who stop over in Qatar can get free four-day transit visas, officials have clarified.

And once the scheme is in place, only Qatar Airways passengers will be eligible for the visas, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said.

In response to questions from Doha News this week, a spokesperson said:

“The new transit visa scheme is in the process of being put into effect. Once in place, transit visas will be available to Qatar Airways passengers of all nationalities, free of charge.”

QTA announced the new visa plan last month.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Fadi Benne

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

At the time, officials said that transit passengers with layovers of more than five hours could obtain the visas at the airport’s Arrivals immigration desk by showing proof of their onward journey.

But since then, many visitors have complained that they couldn’t obtain these visas after flying into Hamad International Airport (HIA).

New plan

Once the scheme does take effect, many transit passengers will no longer need to apply for an entry visa ahead of time.

Additionally, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that the airline is working to reduce the current high fares for booking stopovers in Doha:

“Whether traveling for business or leisure, we want to enrich the journey of all of our passengers and are restructuring our fares to reflect this initiative and to promote stopovers to travelers.”

However, both QTA and Qatar Airways this week refrained from saying when the new visa system would take effect.

QTA told Doha News that for now, passengers should apply for a tourist visa in advance through Qatar Airways before they travel.

But if they are on the list below, visitors can pay QR100 to get a visa on arrival at HIA.

Who's eligible for visa on arrival in Qatar


Who’s eligible for visa on arrival in Qatar

All passengers with connecting flights within 24 hours of arrival will need to proceed to HIA’s transfer desk after arriving in Doha, officials added.


Seized marijuana

Qatar Customs Authority

Seized marijuana

It’s been a busy month for customs officials in Qatar.

This week, the authority honored several officers after they seized some 29kg of marijuana off of five different passengers arriving in Doha.

The accused all hail from “Asian” countries, the Customs Authority said in a statement.

Four of the passengers had flown into Hamad International Airport (HIA) and attempted to smuggle drugs in their suitcases.

Meanwhile, a fifth tried to hide the marijuana in an air freight package containing textbooks and folders.

Smuggling point

According to HIA Customs Director Ajab Mansour al Qahtani, the incidents highlight the rising prevalence of drug smugglers entering Qatar.

But he added that the seizures also showed the capabilities of officials in protecting the country’s borders from the contraband.

Other notable seizures this year included 11kg of marijuana hidden in a bag of dried chili peppers; 332g of marijuana tucked into a box of sweets; and 4kg of cannabis stuffed inside stereo speakers.