Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – In order to meet the growing expansion plans of Qatar Airways, more than US$1 billion is being invested in infrastructure improvements at Doha International Airport while construction of the multi-billion New Doha International Airport continues.
Slated to open by 2012, the New Doha International Airport will initially be able to handle 24 million passengers annually, rising to 50 million when fully operational beyond 2015.
But with the rapid growth of national carrier Qatar Airways, facilities have been – and continue to be – expanded at the current airport.
These include the opening soon of a brand new transit terminal at the eastern apron featuring eight gates, snack centre and a duty free shop, operated by Qatar Duty Free, one of the airline’s subsidiaries.
The transit facility will help process passengers arriving at the eastern apron with less than 60-minute flight connections. At present all passengers use the main terminal for arrivals, transfers and departures, which provides limited time for travellers who have tight connections.
Over the past two years, new aircraft parking bays have been created at the eastern apron, with a total of 16 now in operation. At the main apron, the number of parking bays has increased from 16 to 23.
In addition, Qatar Airways’ Premium Terminal, for exclusive use by its First and Business Class passengers, will have more than 80 per cent extra seating space following the opening next month of an extension to the dedicated Business Class section.
A new drive-through side entrance to the Premium Terminal has already opened. Expansion of the first floor Business Class lounge will see the current seating capacity of 320 seats increase by 250 seats – 80 per cent – together with more shower rooms, buffet and dining area.
Duty free space will be almost doubled to cater for a wider range of high-end premium products ranging from fragrances and cosmetics to electronics and clothing. The Premium Terminal is divided into two sections, one for First Class offering a seating capacity of 140 passengers, and one for Business Class travellers.
Addressing media today at a packed press conference during Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said US$1 billion was being invested in the airport infrastructure expansion, stressing it was necessary as the national airline was committed to its long-term passenger growth averaging 35 per cent year on year.
“Our expansion is growing at a remarkable pace,” he said, adding, “with new aircraft joining our fleet at an incredible rate of one a month for the foreseeable future, we need the airport infrastructure to be able to cope, hence the creation of a new transit terminal and more seating capacity at the Premium Terminal,” he said.
Qatar Airways currently carries more than 12 million passengers a year and with up to six new routes being launched over the next 10 months, including Goa and Amritsar in India; Sydney and Melbourne in Australia; and two further cities in Europe.
Qatar Airways’ Economy Class has been voted Best in the World in the annual Skytrax passenger survey, in which more than 16 million travellers were polled. Ranked Five Star for service and excellence by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency also voted Qatar Airways’ cabin crew Best in the Middle East for the seventh year running in 2009 and Best Airline in the Middle East for the fourth consecutive year. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is one of the customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the New Doha International Airport would have opened. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
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