The new, world-class Hamad International Airport aviation hub in Doha, Qatar, has been operational since May this year, affording customers the opportunity to enjoy a premier travel experience, whether they are visiting or simply passing through the country.

On 27 May, Hamad International Airport (HIA) marked a historic date, as all operations were successfully transferred to Doha’s new, world-class aviation hub from the old Doha International Airport. Due to the hard work and diligence of all HIA’s staff, the full transition to Qatar Airways’ new hub went smoothly, and overwhelming positive feedback from passengers underscored one of the biggest events in recent aviation history.

Uncompromised utility paired with functional beauty were key drivers of the magnificent architecture that today houses a state-of-the-art airport, setting new standards for the aviation industry, airport architecture and design quality.

A workforce of 23,000 invested more than 160 million hours in designing and building an undulating structure resembling the gentle waves of the Arabian Gulf, taking passengers gracefully from landside to airside, using building materials sourced from 40 different countries around the world.

The state of the art

HIA has been constructed with passenger comfort and the changing environment in the area of continued technological advancements in mind. There are many systems at the airport that feature the latest technology to provide more comfort to passengers – from check-in terminals to security scanners and fully automated baggage systems with the capacity to handle 19,500 bags every hour. Painstaking ergonomic research has ensured this technology is simply and effectively integrated into the building’s layout.

Passengers travelling through the airport will experience a bespoke, architecturally beautiful space that offers unique perks. This includes the exhibition space throughout HIA delivering iconic artwork such as Untitled (Lamp/Bear) by Urs Fischer, Playground from Tom Otterness and Tom Claassen’s Oryxes. Additionally, activity nodes are available free of charge for all passengers, offering the opportunity to use the internet counters, relax in the television areas or use the quiet rooms to rest before continuing their onward journey.

Story of success

In its first phase, the airport will have an annual capacity of 30 million passengers, with three out of five concourses – A, B and C – now open. Eventually, an automated people-mover on the second floor will help passengers travel from one end of concourse C to the other, facilitating the quick, 35-minute connection time.

HIA will increase its capacity from 30 million to 50 million annually with the addition of two further concourses. Passengers travelling through Doha will board easily using efficiently designed bridges offering direct access between boarding gates and aircraft. Today, HIA provides 41 contact gates, and there will be 65 in total upon final completion.

HIA will have a total of 16 lounges – 13 in the south node and three in the north node – offering passengers unprecedented facilities, amenities and customer service, combined to provide quite simply one of the most luxurious airport experiences anywhere in the world.

Additionally, HIA’s retail and food and beverage offering is at the heart of the airport and an extremely important part of travellers’ experiences. To showcase Qatari hospitality, Qatar Duty Free recently unveiled a unique selection of food and beverage outlets, as well as a retail emporium that includes more than 30 cafes and restaurants spread across 15,000m2, and more than 70 retail stores spread over 25,000m2.

HIA is designed to support and sustain Qatar’s historic development as a nation, promising an exponential increase in Qatar’s capacity to handle international movements of people, goods, capital, knowledge and technology. It is a vital element of Qatar’s ‘National Vision 2030’, which sets out the roadmap for a unique national transition from reliance on petrochemical revenues to a diverse, knowledge-based economy.

From its economic benefits to its design and cultural attractions, HIA’s narrative is largely a reflection of Qatar’s own story and identity.