More than 17.6 million passengers passed through Hamad International Airport (HIA) during the first six months of 2016.
That’s a 20 percent increase from last year and puts HIA well on its way to surpassing its annual capacity of 30 million passengers for the second year in a row.
In a statement, HIA CEO Badr Al-Meer said the first two quarters of the year marked “the busiest for our airport to date.”
“We are therefore committed to further invest in the development of HIA, by adding capacity, improving connectivity and delivering the best services to our travelers.”
Al-Meer didn’t go into specifics, but the CEO of airport operator Qatar Airways said the expansion’s first phase is already underway and should be finished by the end of this year.
Speaking to media last month, Akbar Al Baker added that plans to double HIA’s capacity to 60 million passengers annually would finish “by 2021, latest.”
In the first six months of this year, Qatar’s national carrier has continued to grow rapidly, adding eight new destinations.
This and additional flights from other carriers boosted aircraft operations at HIA by 17 percent compared to the same period in 2015.
Who’s coming to Doha
In a statement, HIA said that one of out five passengers using the airport came from Dubai, London, Bangkok, Bahrain or Colombo.
According to recent government figures, however, more than 70 percent of this traffic never actually leaves the airport.
But Qatar is hoping to change this and boost tourism in the coming years.
One strategy it recently announced is to offer a visa-on-arrival system for tourists from the populous nations of India, Russia and China.