Passengers rank Qatar’s Hamad airport second best in region

Hamad International Airport

Takahiro Hayashi/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

Qatar’s Hamad International Airport is among the best airports in the Middle East, according to the annual Airport Service Quality Awards (ASQ), which are based on the results of passenger satisfaction surveys.

The index ranked HIA joint second with Abu Dhabi International, while Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport topped the regional list.

At least 10 airports from the Middle East were in the running, including airports from Oman and Bahrain.

Meanwhile, Dubai International shared third place with Damman’s King Fahd International Airport and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion.

Chantelle D'mello

Passengers seated near the check-in area at HIA

The ASQ awards are run by the Airports Council International (ACI), which carries out monthly surveys at all participating airports around the world, allowing them to compare their performance with their peers.

The survey covers a broad range of areas, including check-in, security, airport facilities, food outlets and shopping opportunities.

To compile its latest results, ACI spoke to 550,000 passengers prior to boarding their flights at over 300 airports in more than 80 countries.

Overcrowding concerns

HIA’s ranking aside, concerns have recently been raised by passengers about long queues at immigration.

In January, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker – whose airline manages the airport – attributed the delays to staff shortages.

He added that the carrier and the Ministry of Interior – whose staff man the immigration desks – were “trying to resolve the issue as a team.”

However, the problem persists. This week, Al Jazeera’s Rageh Omar raised concerns about overcrowding at HIA on Twitter:

While staff shortages may play a part, airport authorities acknowledged last year that the number of passengers traveling through HIA annually has already exceeded its planned capacity of 30 million.

Work is under way to increase the airport’s capacity to 53 million passengers, but this project – which will see the existing passenger terminal double in size – is not expected to be completed before 2020.

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