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Qatar Hamad International Airport to build Concourse F

Qatar Hamad International Airport to build Concourse F

Airport expansion announced as Doha hub becomes the first regionally to be awarded five-star Skytrax rating

Hamad International Airport is to press ahead with an expansion plan which will see a new Concourse F added to the existing terminal, swelling capacity to 65 million passengers annually.

Akbar Al Baker, group chief executive of the Qatar Airways Group, said it has formed a steering committee with a view to completing it “as soon as possible”.

“The terminal was designed for expansion as we grow the airline and this is what we will do,” he said, adding that it had recently received an application from two more Indian carriers. He said the expansion will be put out to public tender “to internationally contracted parties”. Foster + Partners is handling the designs.

Confirmation of the airport’s expansion came as HIA received a five-star Skytrax rating, the first airport to receive the accolade regionally and sixth globally.

The award is in recognition of the major investment in ‘airport quality’ and diversity of services, but it handled 30 million passengers in 2015, around a third that pass through Dubai, which is the world’s largest airport for international traffic. HIA features 12 lounges, novel leisure facilities such as a pool and squash court, smart tech features, premium-branded duty free and cultural tie-ups with Qatar Museums.

Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax, said: “The key factor is everything works, looking at all the facilities, and we have a passion for cleanliness; a dirty airport is one that passengers don’t want to go back to. We’re also looking for a wow factor – and HIA has it, a lot of thought and investment has gone into it.”

Al Baker also highlighted the airport’s efficiency, calming nature and ability to contribute “to the overall journey”. He said it is now rolling out new biometric-friendly e-gates.

The CEO also confirmed that Qatar Airways’ eagerly awaited new business seat will be unveiled at ITB Berlin. “It will be across the fleet in B777s and A350s, and we have a new seat development for the B787s as this new seat can’t fit in the 787.”

The airline will receive 23 planes this year, all widebodies, and its eighth of 10 A380s is due to be delivered in the next few weeks.

Its network will grow by 15 destinations in 2017/18, and Al Baker remains confident despite weakening demand and low oil prices.

“With the kind of product we offer, we will continue to generate demand.”

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