Browsing 'hamad international airport' News

Shabina S. Khatri / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Pakistani visitors to Qatar can now get free visas on arrival at Qatar’s airport.

These visas are good for a 30-day stay, and can be extended for an additional month, according to the Qatari embassy in Pakistan.

Qatar Airways appeared to update its website to reflect the change late last month, and the Pakistani embassy in Qatar also tweeted about it.

However, the news was only confirmed by Qatari authorities in Islamabad this week.

The move comes after Qatar announced a new visa-free scheme for visitors of 80 nationalities in early August.

At the time, Pakistanis and many others lamented that their countries were not on the list.

The offer was extended to populous nations like India, Russia and China, but not most African, South Asian and Arab countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Egypt.

Conditions

To be eligible for the visa on arrival, Pakistani travelers must present passports with at least six months validity.

A return/onward ticket is also needed.

The traveler must also have at least QR5,000 in cash or a valid credit card. Additionally, a certificate of vaccination against polio is needed.

Travelers do not have to fly Qatar Airways to avail of the visa on arrival.

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Geraldine_E/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Passenger traffic at Hamad International Airport (HIA) dipped sharply after the blockade of Qatar began in June, according to newly released government figures.

Traffic dropped 18 percent year-on-year in June, according to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) August Bulletin.

It also fell some 32 percent from the previous month. But this could also be because June is usually a quieter travel month in Doha than May.

Lesley Walker / Doha News

Monorail at Hamad International Airport

These official figures reveal for the first time how hard the Gulf dispute has hit HIA, which had experienced blockbuster growth before the boycott began.

Fewer airlines

At least half a dozen airlines from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt have ceased flying to Doha over the past three months.

They include Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai, Saudia, Gulf Air and Air Arabia. Additionally, Qatar Airways was forced to suspend its flights to all of the blockading countries.

According to analysts CAPA (Centre for Aviation) the severing of these air links caused the cancellation of over 130,000 aircraft seats per week.

Mark Harkin / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This is why the number of aircraft movements – or how many takeoffs and landings were recorded – also dropped.

They were down 15 percent year-on-year for June 2017, and 24 percent month-on-month, the MDPS said.

The MDPS noted in its report that Hamad International Airport has not yet released passenger statistics for July 2017, so it was unable to include them in its August bulletin.

Fewer regional visitors

Fewer flights has meant fewer visitors to Qatar in the past couple of months.

According to the MDPS, 18 percent fewer GCC visitors came to Qatar this July (656,681) compared to July 2016 (804,875).

MDPS

A chart showing visitor arrivals in July 2017

However, visitor arrivals remain surprisingly high, given flight restrictions.

Additionally, nationals of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are currently being discouraged from visiting Qatar by their own governments.

Right now, only residents from two Gulf countries – Kuwait and Oman – are able to fly into Doha without restrictions.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Hamad Airport security

Visitor figures for July also show a 9 percent year-on-year decrease of travelers from other Arab countries.

On a positive note, however, they also show an increase of visitors from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.

This helped temper the Gulf slump so that overall, visitor numbers from July 2017 to July 2016 only fell by 7 percent.

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MOI

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

For the first time, citizens of Russia, China, South Africa, Lebanon, Indonesia and dozens of other countries will be able to purchase visas on arrival in Qatar.

The move comes as Qatar seeks to boost tourism amid a boycott from some of its most frequent visitors, who hail from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

According to a circular from Qatar Airways issued to employees this week, the Ministry of Interior has approved the entry of more than 30 new nationalities with immediate effect, based on the following conditions:

  • Their passports are valid for six months or more;
  • Visitors have a return/onward ticket; and
  • They have a hotel booking and $1,500 in cash or credit card.

Previously, Qatar had an agreement with only around three dozen nations and territories to provide visa on arrival services. A one-month stay costs QR100 (roughly $30).

Ministry of Interior

Previous list of visa on arrival nationalities

These include the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia, as well as European and East Asian countries.

New countries

Last year, Qatar authorities said they were working to add China and Russia to the list, as well as Indians.

But according to the recent Qatar Airways circular, only Indians who meet certain conditions are eligible for visa on arrival, such as those with a permanent UK address or US green card.

Qatar Airways

Additional list of visa on arrival nationalities.

Other nationalities that can now enter Qatar without applying in advance for a one-month visa include several South American countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and eastern European nations like Croatia, Latvia and Estonia.

The loosened restrictions come after Qatar has already made four-day transit visas free and available to Qatar Airways passengers transiting through the country, regardless of nationality.

Online visa service

The full list of 71 nationalities that are eligible for visa on arrival is available on a new visa application website unveiled by Qatar Airways yesterday.

The airline in conjunction with the Qatar Tourism Authority said residents from any country can now apply for tourist visas though the portal, which is currently in a pilot phase.

Hamad International Airport

Sanjiban Ghosh/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

This saves time as the process no longer has to go through hotels or tour operators.

Passengers will need passport scans, personal photographs, their airline ticket information and the address they will be staying at when in Qatar to submit their applications.

It usually take about 48 hours to obtain visas via email. And the application can be tracked by visitors online, authorities said.

Applications will be submitted automatically for those who book with Qatar Airways.

The tourist visas cost $42 (which includes a credit card booking fee).

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