TRAVELLERS through Doha International Airport, and in particular Qatar Airways’ passengers, have a number of new services to look forward to in 2007.
The year which marks the 10th anniversary of the airline’s re-launch – as a result of expansion programmes and new facilities introduced towards the end of 2006. The national carrier’s premium passengers (first and business class) passing through Qatar – as well as premium passengers on code-share flights operated by Qatar Airways – have the world’s first dedicated terminal to enjoy, while all its passengers can look forward to route expansion and increased services to a number of existing destinations, including
New York, Bali, Ho Chih Minh City, Lagos and Dar Es Salaam, which was added on January 9.
Qatar Airways, which manages and operates Doha International Airport, is also responsible for the new Premium Terminal. Located before the main departures building, the Premium Terminal is accessible via a new road and has its own dedicated parking. CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said the expansion has reinforced the message that Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, adding that that more travellers will now have the opportunity to use the new terminal.
Built in just nine months at a cost of $90million, the 10,000sqm terminal offers the national carrier’s registered first and business class passengers e-gate facilities to speed up immigration formalities; the terminal has its own exclusive check-in facilities; its own Duty Free area, along with conference and meeting rooms and a business centre with full secretarial services for those business travellers who need to continue their work or meetings; and a host of other services and facilities. There is also a 24-hour medical centre in the Premium Terminal as well as free Internet-access stations.
The terminal is part of $200 million expansion plans for the existing airport, opened to passengers the week before Doha hosted the Asian Games last December, although all ‘Asian Games Family’ visitors used a separate, specially dedicated temporary Games terminal for their arrivals and departures. Over150 staff were newly recruited by Qatar Airways from the global hospitality industry, specifically for the Premium Terminal. Construction is meanwhile on schedule for the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) which is scheduled for completion at the end of 2008, and is due to open in 2009. To cope with the increase in passengers passing through Doha in the intervening period before NDIA opens, an extra 21,000sqm of space has been added to the existing airport terminal; the number of boarding gates has increased from 10 to 16; there are two additional immigration counters; new e-gates in arrivals and departures to speed up processing of passengers; and a sharp increase in the number of aircraft parking bays – from 19 to 40 – to cope with the huge expansion of Qatar Airways’ fleet. The airline is the airport’s largest customer, operating at least 90 per cent of flights in and out of Doha. Its current fleet of 51 all-Airbus aircraft will more than double in size by 2015 – to 110 aircraft.
In addition to the new Duty Free area at the Premium Terminal in Doha, Qatar Duty Free continues to expand its choice of products and services. Passengers wishing to make on-board purchases are encouraged to contact QDF at least 48 hours before their flights to ensure the particular goods they require are on board. Orders can be e-mailed to [email protected]. Privilege Club members receive 2 Qmiles for every 41 spent on Duty Free goods.
2006 also marked the year that Qatar Duty Free held the draw for its first Dollar Millionaire winner. Duty Free draw promotions at Doha International Airport continue to grow in popularity.
by Gina Coleman
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
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