After a five-year delay, Doha’s Hamad International Airport is open for business. Although other passenger aircraft had already used its runways on a limited number of special occasions, the airport welcomed a celebratory Qatar Airways’ VIP flight on April 30 to mark what it describes as its: “soft opening.”
The Qatar Airways A320 aircraft, which left Doha International Airport just before 11:00am, landed on Hamad International Airport’s Easterly runway shortly afterwards. Upon arrival, QR7450 was greeted by a traditional water salute and a warm welcome from gathering crowds at gate B3, on one of the airport’s new concourses. Onboard the inaugural flight to Hamad International Airport were VIPs and other dignitaries, including; Minister of Transportation, His Excellency Mr Jassim Al Sulaiti, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker and Chairman of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, His Excellency Mr Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al Noaimi.
Also onboard were NDIA Project Director, Mr Bernardo Gogna, together with other members of the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee, Mr Nassr Al Ansari, Mr Mohammad Al Meer, Mr Abdulla Al Muraikhi, Mr Abdulla Al Asiri, Mr Eissa Al Rumaihi, Mr Ali Al Abdulla, Mr Saad Al Otaibi and Dr Jaffar Abdulrahim. Joining them were Manager of Airport Security, Mr Eissa Arrar Al Romaihi, Manager of Airport Immigration, Colonel Mohamed Al Mazroui and Aeronautical College Manager, Mr Ali Al Malki.
Designed to accommodate 30 million passengers annually, rising to 50 million upon full completion, the airport covers an area of 29km² and is 60% built on land reclaimed from the Gulf.
Currently, ten airlines are now operating fully from Hamad International Airport; Biman Bangladesh; flydubai; Air Arabia; Iran Air; Air India Express; Yemenia; Pakistan International; Syrian Airlines; Pegasus Airlines and Nepal Airlines.
Qatar Airways will move its entire hub operations to Hamad International Airport on May 27.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker said: “It is a historic moment, not only in the history of our airline, but for the State of Qatar, to see this Qatar Airways VIP flight touch down at the newly opened Hamad International Airport.
“Today’s highly anticipated opening of the new airport signifies to the world that Doha is now ready to open its doors for passengers to experience an airport that transforms the travel experience, and it is with much excitement that we await the move of all Qatar Airways flights to this new facility on May 27.”