Updated with a statement from Hamad International Airport
Hamad International Airport’s long-awaited people mover will start picking up passengers at midnight tonight, an airport spokesperson has told Doha News.
But it has been seen running regularly (though empty of people) for more than a year, presumably for testing purposes.
Hamad International Airport said in a statement that the system was beginning operations following the granting of an Operational Safety Certificate from the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The line has two stations that will be available for departing, arriving and transfer passengers, the HIA spokesperson said.
The trains will run from near Urs Fischer’s Lamp/Bear (the giant yellow teddy bear) in departures through to the D and E concourses, reducing transfer times through the terminal.
Each trip between the two stations takes 90 seconds, with a 44 second waiting time at each station, airport officials said. Approximate walking time for the same distance is 9 minutes.
According to Austrian company Doppelmayr, which built the system, the two trains can run at a speed of 45 km/h. The cable-propelled system is designed to be completely silent.
The carriages have a glass roof for a “pleasantly open environment,” the company added.
According to Doppelmayr, the monorail had been due to enter service in the Spring 2015.
An airport spokesperson declined to comment on why the line’s opening had been delayed.