DALLAS – With the FIFA World Cup ready to kick off in 52 days, Qatar reopened the older Doha International Airport (DIA) earlier this month to cater to the excess demand that will last during the tournament season.
The airport sits just west of the newer Hamad International airport (DOH), which took over duties in 2014. DIA completely stopped commercial flight operations and only served executive and business flights since then.
Well, the World Cup rush is just too much for just DOH to handle, and the former airport is ready to lend out a helping hand.
Initially, Jazeera Airways (J9), Flydubai (FZ), SalamAir (OV), and Pegasus (PC) confirmed their flights to the reopened airport from the 15th of September, but as of today, it seems like more have joined the list.
An official post from Hamad International (See image above) confirms that 13 airlines have opted to fly to the airport during the world cup season spanning from 15 September through to 30 December 2022. Ethiopian (ET) and Nepal airlines (RA) bring in some widebody action.
Good News for Qatar Airways
Given that the tiny state of Qatar expects to receive over a million visitors, the departure terminal of DIA is designed to handle 2,000 departing passengers per hour. It has 83 check-in desks, 52 departure immigration counters, and 22 departure boarding gates.
Some 150,000 people a day are expected to arrive during the peak weeks of the tournament, surely it’ll take some loads off DOH. However, access into the terminal building is reserved for ticketed passengers only. The airport lies within a 30-minute radius of many soccer stadiums
Hamad International airport will see its current expansion project be ready for travelers next month and will be able to serve 58 million passengers a year.
Akbar al-Baker, the group CEO of Qatar Airways (QR), said, “This expansion will be a vital part of the future success of the Qatar Airways group and the country’s preparation to hold the FIFA World Cup and beyond.”
During the tournament, only fans with tickets will be allowed into the tiny Gulf state. Gulf carriers from the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia will operate over 100 daily shuttles into Doha airport during the tournament.
For these match-day visitors, immigration will be done completely at the departure airport to avoid wait times at Doha and the spectators will return home the same day.
Featured image: Flughafen Doha, Airbus der Qatar Airways bei der Abfertigung. Photo: Bgabel at wikivoyage shared, CC BY-SA 3.0