Hamad International Airport Announces Special Preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
The State of Qatar’s preparations for the FIFA World Cup is in full swing as the country gets ready to host one of the world’s largest sporting events. Being held from 20 November until 18 December across seven different municipalities, Qatar will be recognized as the first Arab country to host the coveted tournament. Ultra-modern new stadiums and hotels are spread across the country, alongside a growing infrastructure for the country’s transportation and futuristic technology being implemented within the rising venues. This leaves the world wondering, how is the official airport partner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ preparing to welcome around 1.8 million visitors, the wide majority of which will be arriving by air?
MATAR, the Qatar Company for Airports Operation and Management, operates two international airports in Qatar. Its main aviation hub, the award-winning Hamad International Airport (HIA, IATA code: DOH) and its companion Doha International Airport (IATA code: DIA), with a robust Airport Operations Plan, a dedicated Event Management Center and well trained and motivated staff, Qatar’s airports are ready to welcome the world through its gates.
Understanding Passenger Demographics and Peak Periods
The commonality for the love of sports between all the diverse visitors will be extremely evident, with visitors estimated by the Host Country to come from various continents, including 37 percent from the GCC, 26 percent from Europe, 11 percent from the Middle East, 8 percent from North America, 8 percent from Asia, 6 percent from Latin America, and 4 percent from Africa.
The Host Country has mapped out peak arrival and departure days for passenger traffic, with peak arrivals expected on the first day, while peak departures expected on the 12th day. It has also categorized passenger groups arriving in Qatar for the FIFA World Cup that include teams, referees, media, dignitaries and spectators, and mapped out passenger flow for each category.
The Airports Operations Plan
MATAR, the Qatar Company for Airports Operation and Management, also formulated the Airports Operations Plan (AOP) which has been a live document for many years, and the final edition has been issued in June 2022. All the plans for airport operations during the tournament have been thoroughly tested during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and have also been peer-reviewed by aviation authority bodies and organizations who have previously hosted similar scale events.
The AOP defines in detail every process and procedure in place for the smooth delivery of the FIFA World Cup. For example, the types of passengers expected to enter Qatar through HIA and DIA are defined, and their travel journey-arriving and departing- have been carefully mapped out to ensure all visitors have the smoothest experience through the airport and into the city.
Seamless alignment and communication between all stakeholders have been ensured through the AOP, while the roles and responsibilities of all airport stakeholders have been defined as well so there is clarity among all parties on expectations regarding service delivery. The plan also defines FIFA 2022 organizer’s responsibilities to ensure seamless teamwork of airport stakeholders and FIFA organizers. They have been working together for years to deliver a successful event.
Furthermore, the AOP covers coordination with all transport providers to ensure proper connectivity from and to the airport, the city and the stadiums. Coordination between traffic police, security, taxi and coach operators, metro etc. has also been mapped out, and continuous coordination is taking place in order to ensure full alignment. Travel processes such as check-in, immigration, security, boarding, and baggage handling flow were also included and carefully dissected in the AOP.
Event Management Center
Meanwhile, MATAR has established an Event Management Centre (EMC), dedicated to all World Cup related airport operations at Hamad International Airport and its companion Doha International Airport (DIA). It will be manned 24/7 by a diverse group of professionals representing all major airport stakeholders and partners to ensure a smooth flow of traffic and other operations related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The EMC has been established for accurate collection of required data, precise handling of information flows, coordination of landside and airside processes and quick and on-the-spot decision-making. The EMC has been successfully tested during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021.
Training and Development
HIA, with its various components and stakeholders, will be participating in a learning and development plan aiming at preparing the different teams to welcome the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ visitors. The plan will cover various aspects of passengers and resources handling – where all airport internal and external teams will be aligned on the performance objectives during the event’s period.
The readiness of the country’s aviation community will be undoubtedly sensed as the learning and development plan has been ongoing for a long time and will provide additional knowledge on how to operate and maintain the new facilities and technologies where applicable. The plan will also work on how to facilitate adaptation to the new procedures and systems, as well as give knowledge on airport layout, accessibility and working environment during the event. Training includes procedure training, on-job training, corporate training, soft skills training, familiarization training and customer service training.
The Airport Expansion
Titled the “Best Airport in the World” for the second year in a row by the prestigious Skytrax World Airport Awards 2022, HIA’s airport expansion is set to be revealed to the world very soon. The airport’s phase A expansion, set to be launched imminently, will increase the capacity to over 58 million passengers per annum. This phase includes the enhancement of HIA’s central concourse built in the North Plaza of the terminal. The central concourse will house world renowned luxury retail brands, concept stores and restaurants, all set around a 10,000 sqm indoor tropical garden and 268 sqm water feature, under a dramatic grid shell roof structure that lets in natural sunlight.HIA’s Phase B expansion will then begin in early 2023 and will boost the capacity to over 60 million passengers – cementing HIA as a major global hub and an extraordinary destination for millions of travellers.
MATAR and its two airports, Hamad International Airport and Doha International Airport, are ready to welcome the world through its gates and deliver a safe, seamless and pleasurable experience.