Qatar Airways has not been having an easy time during the past couple off years because of the overflight embargoes levied on them by the UAE authorities. This has resulted in extra fuel
and operating cost for QR flights which have to deviate from previous routes, as well as the carrier cancelling some of their routes and aircraft rotations.
However, Doha continues with their airport expansion plans.
Second airport expansion phase gets green light
Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has developed during the past decade into a notable passenger and cargo hub within the Middle East. This, despite huge competition from their neighbours in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and more recently the large expansion given through Istanbul’s new airport.
This competitiveness has not deterred Doha’s planning managers who have just revealed their plans for the second phase of the airport expansion. This is to a large extent of course geared towards boosting the passenger business through Doha Airport. But, air cargo also will get a considerable boost once the second stage of the plans are completed.
The new planning has been split into Phase A and Phase B. The Phase A expansion concentrates on the work which is aimed at linking the central passenger concourse to the D and E aircraft docking piers. The construction, which is said to start in early 2020 and be finished by 2022, will then increase the airport’s passenger capacity to 53 million each year. The Phase B project will start after 2022 with a further extension to the D and E piers and ultimately increase passenger handling possibilities to more than 60 million per annum. There will also be an additional 12,000 sqm of retail and F&B (food & beverage) space added to those presently in operation.
Cargo to get an added boost
Qatar Airways has managed over the past years to increase their passenger and cargo fleets considerably.The passenger long-haul fleet totals almost 160 aircraft. These are made up from a variety of Airbus A380, A330, A350 models as well as Boeing 787 and 777 versions. The belly capacity for the carriage of cargo is large. This is complemented by Qatar Cargo’s fleet of nineteen B777Fs, with a further seven on order. Two B747Fs and five A330Fs are also in the cargo fleet, but will most probably be phased out once the additional B777Fs arrive.
Therefore, no wonder that Doha Airport’s planners also took a close look at future cargo facilities. The expansion plans include the construction of a brand new cargo terminal which once completed will give DOH a handling capacity of around 3.2 million tons per year. The planning forsees the completion of the cargo terminal by 2023. This will be a multi-level facility totaling 85,000 sqm, split into three levels as well as three mezzanine floors which the planners say will in effect give almost 323,000 sqm of gross floor area.
Wonder what Doha’s neighbours in the UAE and Turkey are thinking about these expansion plans. One can only hope that the global cargo market picks up again by the time the new cargo terminal is completed.
John Mc Donagh
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