Qatar’s main airport has yet again documented a significant increase in aircraft and passenger movement.
Qatar’s main Hamad International Airport has recorded a spectacular increase of 74% in passengers compared to September of last year, according to a new report by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).
Per the newly released infographics, preliminary air transport figures for September 2022 showed a rise in aircraft movement of 13.6% as compared to the same month in the previous year.
During September of last year, HIA recorded 15,551 aircraft movements. However, 2022 saw that number spike to 17,660.
Similarly, the number climbed by 74.4% on the passenger side. In September 2021, 1,819,250 persons traveled via HIA, while in September of this year, that number rose to 3,172,062.
Such an increase could be attributed to the boost in tourism brought by the hosting of the biggest football tournament in the world, the FIFA 2022 World Cup, set to kick off in Doha in late November.
In fact, the number is expected to at least double next month, given the influx in flights to accommodate the over 1 million visitors expected to land in the country for the mega event.
Meanwhile, compared to the same month in 2021, air freight and mail reported a 12.6% reduction, the report added.
Spanning 22 km2, the spacious Hamad International Airport operates 41 contact gates and 65 remote stands (73 remote stands including MAGS). It currently serves over 39 million passengers per year with a 600,000m2 terminal, providing a luxurious experience for visitors landing at the facility.
The airport is also 12 times larger than the old Doha airport, which has been reopened to accommodate the influx of passengers for the tournament.
In June, the international airport was awarded the World’s Best Airport for the second year by the Skytrax 2022 World Airport Awards.
Last week, reports over Qatar’s Hamad International Airport and its alleged lack of preparedness for an anticipated surge in aviation traffic during the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup came under fire by experts as “misinformed”.
The Daily Mail’s Sportmail report criticised Qatar’s main airport, suggesting it “is not prepared for a large flow of travellers”.
Often slammed by the public as a sensationalist tabloid, the Daily Mail dubbed the alleged learnt information as “devastating” which, it added, “raises grave questions ahead of the event, which kicks off next month.
“This newspaper has been told a desperate hunt for staff has seen many drafted in from across the globe, with officials now in a race against time to get them trained to the required standard,” the report adds.
However, aviation analyst, Alex Macheras, stepped in to provide his insights on the critical report with a “fact check” saying: “Doha’s Hamad Intl Airport is the super-hub airport gateway in the Gulf connecting millions of the world’s passengers as a global transit point with one of the world’s highest air travel performance ratings, dispatch reliability & highest staff to passenger ratios.”
Addressing the Daily Mail journalist, Macheras said they could have had a greater understanding of air traffic in the area had they visited Qatar and seen the massive aviation operation, especially overnight when it witnesses an endless stream of transit flights going in and out, as East to West and vice versa.