BIGGER AND BETTER
What next for Hamad International Airport? Joe Bates reviews the gateway’s newly unveiled development plans.
Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, one of the world’s newest hubs having only opened in 2014, is to expand its concourses to raise its capacity to 60 million passengers per annum.
The expansion project will feature a spectacular 10,000sqm indoor tropical garden in a central concourse as well as a 268sqm water feature, which will be the focal point of the expansion project.
The next step in the development of the Doha gateway consists of two separate phases.
Phase A will comprise of an upgrade to the existing central concourse (Concourse C) linking concourses D and E. Construction work is set to commence by early 2020 and will increase the airport’s capacity to more than 53 million passengers annually by 2022.
Phase B, which will be completed after 2022, will extend concourses D and E to further enhance the airport’s capacity to more than 60 million passengers annually.
The expansion plan also includes 11,720sqm of landscaped retail and F&B space, which the airport believes will enhance its “multi-dimensional offerings” by integrating a “world-class art collection and refreshing environment of lush greenery, with contemporary retail and dining concepts among other leisure attractions and facilities under one expansive terminal”.
Qatar’s gateway to the world also promises to deliver a 9,000sqm Al Mourjan lounge located above the retail space with dramatic views looking towards the tropical garden. The lounge will include additional spas, gymnasiums, restaurants and business centres as well as other passenger facilities.
Qatar Airways Group’s chief executive, His Excellency, Akbar Al Baker, said: “The expansion of Hamad International Airport is a vital part of the future success of the Qatar Airways Group, and of course of the country’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup and beyond.
“It is also a strong sign that Qatar’s economy is robust and acts as a further economic stimulus, providing excellent opportunities for local and international contractors.
“Plans for the phase two expansion focuses on capacity and passenger experience – we want to provide even better airport journeys to more people around the world. The expansion will allow us to do this.”
HIA’s chief operating officer, Engr Badr Mohammed Al Meer, said: “Since we started operations in 2014, it has been our goal to provide our passengers with a unique travel experience, keeping their needs as our top priority.
“The expansion will continue to redefine the airport experience, cementing HIA’s reputation as a destination gateway and critical international hub.
“Our expansion has been designed to seamlessly integrate with the existing terminal, allowing smooth passenger flows and improving the overall passenger experience by minimising travel distances for connections and providing clarity and intuitive wayfinding.
“The beautiful new landscaped spaces and water feature will allow our passengers to benefit from the calming effects of nature, thus improving their level of comfort while with us. Our ultimate aim at HIA is to become a destination in our own right, not just a gateway.”
According to HIA, after the upgrade, its terminal building will be the first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to achieve a 4-star Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) rating for its green credentials.
The flora for the indoor tropical garden will be brought in from sustainable forests from around the world. Designers have developed a column-free, long-span 85m grid shell roof with performance glass to control and filter the light required for the trees to acclimatise to the internal conditions of the terminal and grow throughout the life of the airport.
Other significant features include a new transfer area which will help shorten passengers’ connection times and will improve their overall transfer experience at HIA as well as the central concourse that will accommodate nine additional wide-body aircraft stands.
HIA’s expansion will also see the construction of a new cargo terminal that will increase its handling capacity to an estimated 3.2 million tons of freight per year from the current 1.4 million tons.
The state-of-the-art terminal is slated to be ready by 2023, and will be a multi-level facility with an 85,000sqm footprint across three levels as well as three mezzanine levels providing approximately 323,000sqm of gross floor area.