HIA passenger capacity to reach 55mn with North Node completion: Al-Baker

Hamad International Airport (HIA) is building its North Node, which will increase the capacity to over 55mn passengers, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said, detailing the preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Addressing the ‘Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo 2020’, al-Baker said, “We are building something that is really out of this world. We are expanding a huge area of the Western Runway. We are also building the North Node of the HIA, which will increase the capacity to over 55mn passengers.

He said, “June 2022 onwards, God willing, when the expansion is ready, we will get enough time to do Operational Readiness Activation and Transition (ORAT) on the area, before we open the gates of that part of the airport for passengers before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

Al-Baker said, “Immediately after the FIFA tournament is over, from January 2023, we will do the final expansion of the airport, bringing the total number of passengers to over 65mn per annum. We are hoping that Hamad International Airport will be a destination of passengers of the future. It will be a huge showcase for my country.”

On how the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the decline of first class travel, al-Baker said, “Complete first class travel evaporated. The premium economy got launched… bigger business class sections in aeroplanes got launched. Again Qatar Airways was one step ahead of everybody, wherein in 2006, we started removing first class from our aircraft and replacing it with world’s best business class product.”

As seen on GulfTimes  Image Credits GulfTimes