The much-anticipated New Doha International Airport (NDIA) will open for passenger traffic in the second half of 2013, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has confirmed to The Moodie Report during an exclusive interview in Doha.
The original scheduled opening date was 12 December this year but this has been delayed due to the airport operator deciding to part company with a key contractor, Al Baker said during a wide-ranging interview (to be published in full in our special Cannes edition in October as part of an unprecedented editorial build-up by The Moodie Report to one of the most significant airport openings in aviation history).
“However, some NDIA facilities will open around the end of this year, including cargo, the VIP Terminal and the maintenance base for Qatar Airways,” he said. “And we have already started the operational readiness programme - the ORAT [Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer] has begun.”
Al Baker reaffirmed his vision that NDIA will be a ground-breaking international airport of the highest quality. “We want a world-class facility,” he said. “We will not compromise on quality. We will not compromise on standards. I think when you put everything together, there will be no other airport of such a high standard… including the high level of finishing and the high quality of materials that have been used.”
Speaking of the commercial offer, including retail and food & beverage, Al Baker said: “We have already signed with a lot of major brands. We have a completely new concept of the duty free. We don’t want to throw each product over the other, for example. Instead we want people to feel the space we have.
"We will merchandise it in a way that is easily accessible but also very visible to the travelling public – especially to a passenger that is in a hurry, but still wants to shop.”
But it’s not just about luxury. Al Baker underlined the commercial thinking implicit in NDIA’s approach saying the company would reach out across price points and passenger profiles in order to engage all consumers and maximize revenues.
“We are multi-level, multi-ethnic and we will reach out to people that have low purchasing power and high purchasing power,” he commented. “As a business, we want to provide for everybody.”
During The Moodie Report’s visit to Doha, we toured NDIA and gained a preview of the commercial facilities with Qatar Duty Free Senior Vice President Keith Hunter and his team [to be featured in more depth in our Cannes print edition].
The photos with this story, shown publically for the first time, underline the imagination, innovation and investment that are being poured into the airport’s consumer proposition [we'll bring you more images in this week's edition of The Moodie Report e-Zine].
Qatar Duty Free will have 28 stores under its own name, covering 6,600sq m, complemented by 36 branded shops totalling 4,933sq m of retail space.
NDIA will feature two core category duty free shops – a liquor, tobacco and confectionery outlet and a perfumes, cosmetics and skincare store, each of 1,305sq m.
New concepts include a toy store with unique interactive features; a food connoisseur shop; a dedicated men’s Fashion Store; and a new CTN operator.
Additionally NDIA will feature a major Qatar Duty Free Arrivals store and an airside pharmacy.
The food & beverage offer is similarly ambitious (we’ll bring you an extensive profile in the next edition of The Foodie Report).
The South Node phase one includes just over 6,000sq m of F&B space, including five outlets run by Qatar Duty Free (QDF), four that are concessioned and 11 outlets run by a joint venture between QDF and a concessionaire (including a food court and casual dining area).
The Departures landside check-in area will feature a café, possibly complemented by a multi-food offer.
Additionally NDIA will have two cafés in the Arrivals landside area; and a café in each of Concourses A, B and C.
The high-traffic central Departures duty free area will include the following outlets:
• Voucher restaurant – International
• Seafood Bar
• International food court
• Casual dining concepts
• A premium café – (not operated by QDF)
The North Node (phase 2) will also feature a range of full-service, café, casual dining and food court options.
The Modie Report
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