Browsing 'hamad international airport' News

MOI

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Despite security concerns from the US, a recent audit of Qatar’s Hamad International has found it to be one of the safest airports in the world, officials said.

The results come amid an indefinite ban on laptops and tablets onboard flights from Doha and nine other Middle Eastern cities to the US.

The US Department of Homeland Security said the move was made in response to concerns about potential terrorist attacks.

Richard Lee/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, Qatar apparently scored highly in a February audit by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO).

According to the Ministry of Interior (MOI), here are some of the scores Qatar received from the ICAO’s Universal Security Audit Program (USAP):

  • 99.1 percent for protecting aviation against unlawful interference (i.e terrorism and smuggling);
  • 96.76 percent for implementing safety management; and
  • 100 percent in a section that related to customs and immigration processes.

The USAP results “proved that HIA is one of the safest airports in the world,” the head of the Qatar Aviation Authority (QCAA) said.

Caveats

However, it is difficult to assess how Qatar measured up against other nations.

This is because results of ICAO security audits are usually kept secret.

Speaking to Doha News, a representative from the organization said, “we cannot make public or otherwise confirm anything to do with security audit findings.”

Hussain Didi/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In the past, only a few nations have chosen to share their scores with the public.

In November 2015 for example, Indian aviation authorities disclosed that they had been given scores of 99.23 percent and 99.59 per cent in two ICAO audit areas.

And in April 2016, Nigerian authorities said they had scored an average of 96 percent in a similar audit.

MOI

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s MOI did not respond to requests for more details about the country’s scores or world ranking.

Another notable fact about the audits is that countries are given at least four months notice before they are conducted.

And they have the opportunity to accept or reject suggested audit dates, according to USAP guidelines.

Significant improvement

Still, the average of the three scores shared by Qatar officials – 98.6 percent – is a big improvement from the nation’s 2012 overall score of 78.76 percent.

That was when flights were still departing from Doha International Airport.

MOI/Twitter

Ministry of Interior office at Hamad International Airport

Speaking to QNA, Director of Airport Security Brig. Essa Arar Al Rumaihi credited the higher score to a combination of better training and an investment in new technology over the past five years.

HIA has has apparently trained more than 1,000 security personnel since it opened in 2014.

It has also purchased new “inspection” devices that airport officials say will speed up the movement of passengers through security checkpoints.

More details about these devices have not been shared, but officials said that they were being used “for the first time in the world” at HIA.

A ‘smart airport’

Meanwhile, officials continue to work on introducing a “smart traveler” system at the airport, plans for which were announced last year.

The goal is to automate almost all processes at the airport, from bag weighing to boarding pass printing to e-gates and boarding the aircraft.

Speaking about the plans this week, Airport Security Department director Brig Essa Arrar al-Rumaihi said:

“The vision is that travelers can complete all travel procedures electronically without any human interference.”

The move should help with wait times at the over-capacity airport, as well as reduce costs for operators.

Immigration queues

Among the new processes is e-gate, which fast-tracks residents through immigration. This service was rolled out free of charge to adults living in Qatar late last year.

According to airport officials, making it free has caused many more people to avail of the service in the past several months.

But because it is not open to children, some travelers still face lengthy waits at immigration.

Thoughts?

Hamad International Airport

Sanjiban Ghosh/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

For the third consecutive year, Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been named the best airport in the Middle East, according to Skytrax.

HIA also once again joined the shortlist as one of the top 10 airports in the world.

This year, it jumped four spots to #6, beating out the likes of Zurich, Heathrow and Frankfurt.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Changi Airport once again ranked first in the world in 2017. It was followed by Japan’s Tokyo Haneda International Airport and then South Korea’s Incheon International.

The award comes a few months after HIA was awarded five-star status by Skytrax.

Qatar’s airport is one of only six globally to hold that status, and was the first in the Middle East to nab the honor.

Climbing in the ranks

HIA’s Skytrax rankings have been climbing steadily since the airport opened in 2014.

In response to yesterday’s awards, the airport said on Twitter, “We are (grateful) to our staff and partners who help achieved these awards, and brought further success to the State of Qatar.”

According to Skytrax, its airport rankings are drawn from customer nominations from around the world.

Airports are evaluated based on 39 key performance indicators, including check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration.

Sanjiban Ghosh/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

On its website, Skytrax said HIA “has been described as the most architecturally significant terminal complex in the world, as well as being the most luxurious.”

HIA has consistently received high scores for cleanliness, WiFi connectivity and shopping options. It also has a spa, pool and playgrounds for kids.

Expansion afoot

However, on Skytax’s passenger feedback website, HIA has a score of 6/10. This is in part because visitors continue to lament long lines at immigration and security.

The congestion has only worsened as the airport began operating beyond its capacity of 30 million passengers last year.

V Anand Kumar (@VAK_305) / Twitter

Queueing for immigration at Hamad International Airport

Traffic jumped 20 percent in 2016, to some 37.3 million travelers, according to airport figures.

HIA added Concourses D and E last year, and plans are now afoot to expand the airport to handle some 50 million passengers annually.

Officials have previously stated a 2020 goal for completion for that expansion.

Thoughts?

Brian Candy

Hamad International Airport

Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) saw passenger traffic jump 20 percent in 2016, officials have announced.

The airport handled some 37.3 million passengers in 2016, up 7.3 million from the year before.

This is in part due to operator Qatar Airways’ rapid growth. It began flying to 14 new destinations last year.

Nada Badawi / Doha News

Hamad International Airport

The surge comes despite HIA’s capacity to only handle around 30 million passengers.

However, officials said they focused on boosting that with the addition of Concourses D and E last year. This added eight contact gates and 130,000 more square meters of space, HIA said in a statement this week.

But passengers have continued to complain about long lines at immigration, despite the launch of free automated e-gate services for residents.

According to HIA’s website, plans are now afoot to expand the airport to handle some 50 million passengers a year.

Officials have previously stated a 2020 goal for completion of that expansion.

New management

Also this week, HIA announced that it will now operate as an independent entity under the Qatar Airways Group.

Previously, it was operated by Qatar’s national carrier.

The new entity could also buy stakes in other international airports if they are sound investments, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said during a press conference in New Zealand.

He was there to introduce the launch of the world’s longest flight by duration, a 17+ hour route from Auckland to Doha.

Thoughts?