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16 January 2018 07:48 am

HIA welcomed 120mn passengers in under four years

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Hamad International Airport (HIA) has welcomed 120 million passengers since the beginning of its operations in May 27th 2014 till the end of 2017. In 2017, Cargo observed an increase by 14.52%, with total of 1.9 million tonnes in handling. HIA successfully recovered its passenger numbers with an average monthly increase of 3.75% in the second half of year, after the initial drop in volume in June 2017 due to the restrictions imposed on the country.  

HIA has been recognized for its punctuality, ranking next to first, among the most punctual major airports scoring 85.41 per cent on-time performance (OTP), as demonstrated in aviation analysts OAG’s 2017 Punctuality Report recently released. 

HIA’s resilience is due to new strategic partnerships and to a combined effort from the airport, its national carrier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority, who have worked together to encourage and promote tourism and travel in Qatar. While Qatar Airways accelerated its global expansion with the launching of 10 new destinations in 2017, Qatar Tourism Authority’s efforts to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries makes Qatar the most ‘open country’ in the region and supports HIA’s growth to a great extent. Meanwhile, HIA has welcomed several new airlines which started operations in Qatar in 2017 including Oman’s SalamAir, Kuwait’s Al Wataniya Airlines and Jazeera Airways, Bangladesh’s Regent Airways and US Bangla, and IndiGo, India’s largest and fastest growing low-cost carrier.  

“HIA is a very resilient and busy airport with a clear vision enabling operational excellence, a solid growth strategy managed by a talented team committed to provide the best travel experience, in addition to joining forces with a world class airline. Its strategic geographical location at crossroads of the Eastern and Western part of the world gives HIA a strong competitive advantage.”, commented Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA. “At HIA we aim to offer a safe and seamless experience for our customers travelling through the airport and will continue to put the passenger at the core of our strategy and our investments.”

2017 was a successful year for HIA on multiple fronts. Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer continued: “Since its opening in 2014, HIA’s overall achievements are unmatched by any other airport in the region. HIA continues to be one of the fastest-growing hubs in the world.”  

Sports and culture were one of the key highlights of 2017: HIA strengthened its Platinum sponsorship of German football team FC Bayern München, asserting Qatar’s role as a global leader in sports, and partnered with Qatar Museums to launch a series of exclusive guided tours of iconic artworks by local and international artists displayed at HIA, in line with the Nation’s efforts to build a strong tourism and cultural landscape.  

The year 2017 also marked the signature of two major strategic partnerships building on HIA’s Smart Airport Vision: HIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Huawei, aimed at enabling the airport’s digital transformation in May 2017 and with global IT provider SITA in order to jointly trial and improve passenger processing solutions. HIA is now part of the SITA club composed of 400 members of the global air transport industry.  

Last but not least, 2017 was a ‘green’ year for the airport: HIA was rewarded for its environmental protection strategy, by successfully reaching Level 3 ‘Optimisation’ status in the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.  

Looking ahead, HIA is currently preparing the launch of a major new art piece by KAWS during the first quarter of 2018 and is working on new global partnerships to build on HIA’s best-in-class passenger experience.  

Hamad International Airport was designed to cater for a projected ongoing increase in the volume of traffic and is proceeding as planned. HIA is currently a candidate for the “Best Airport in the World” award by Skytrax which also classified it as a five-star airport in 2017, making it one among only five other airports in the world to achieve this prestigious status. Earlier this year, it was ranked Sixth Best Airport in the World by the 2017 Skytrax World Airport Awards, moving up four places from 2016.

All images courtesy of HIA