Old airport, new expansion: How Qatar is preparing for air traffic for FIFA World Cup – Doha News

Doha airport is set t reopen its doors to passengers after years of semi-operation to ease Fifa World Cup traffic.

With just over 70 days to go, Qatar has announced its plans to re-open Doha International Airport in time for the FIFA World Cup 2022, in a bid to facilitate the movement of over one million fans flocking to the Gulf state.

Subsequently being superseded by the adjacent Hamad International Airport in 2014, which has since developed into a significant hub in tandem with the expansion of flag carrier Qatar Airways,

The Doha airport has been operating in a semi-retired state since the emergence of the newer Hamad International Airport, primarily offering flights to the Gulf nation’s royal family, VIPs, and air force.

However, Qatar Airways announced that Cairo flights carrying Egyptian supporters traveling to Friday’s Lusail Super Cup game between Zamalek and Al Hilal, the respective Egyptian and Saudi league champions, would operate from the old airport.

As of September 15, Jazeera Airways from Kuwait, flydubai from the United Arab Emirates, SalamAir from Oman, and Pegasus Airlines from Turkey will also begin selling tickets to the old airport.

Bigger airport, better hospitality

Three million passengers used Hamad International Airport in June alone, and 8.42 million did so in the second quarter of 2022, which the Civil Aviation Authority reported as an increase of 18% over the same period last year.

But with over one million people expected during the World Cup period alone, authorities put in motion plans to expand the capacity to allow over 58 million passengers a year.

However, with 150,000 visitors per day anticipated during the World Cup’s busiest times, which begins on November 20 and extends for four weeks, some aviation specialists have warned that Hamad airport may not be able to handle the influx, prompting authorities to make use of the old airport.

On its website, low-cost airline Jazeera Airways announced that “all of our regular Doha flights will be temporarily moved to Doha International Airport,” adding that the changes were made “following the instructions of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority” and would last until December 30.

Only spectators with tickets will be permitted entry into the Gulf state during the event.

The tournament’s organisers had announced that several Gulf airlines from Dubai, Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia will operate more than 100 daily shuttles into Doha Airport to accommodate fans.

To cut down on delays in Doha, passengers on those aircraft will go through immigration inspections before takeoff. After they’ve attended their game, they’ll be asked to come back the following day.

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