Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has witnessed a strong increase in passenger traffic, with a 162 percent surge in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2021.
Hamad International Airport, the official airport partner for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and contender for the Skytrax World’s Best Airport 2022, served a total of 7.14 million passengers in the first quarter of 2022, with 2,163,086 passengers in January, 2,168,265 in February and 2,812,874 in March. HIA also added three new passenger destinations in Q1 2022 to the 153 destinations the airport currently serves.
HIA saw a total of 48,680 aircraft movements in Q1 2022, which includes aircraft take-offs and landings. There were 16,239 aircraft movements in January, 15,121 in February and 17,320 movements in March. This amounts to a 30 percent increase compared to same period last year, it said.
HIA handled 585,448 tonnes of cargo in Q1 and added two new cargo destinations to its network.
In total, HIA had 36 airline partners during the first quarter. The top five busiest departing destinations from HIA were Heathrow, Colombo, Kathmandu, Dubai and Male. The Far East served the highest market share at 30.93 percent, followed by Europe at 25.20 percent, the Middle East at 16.71 percent, Africa at 12.66 percent, North America at 11.02 percent, Australia at 2.23 percent, South America at 1.22 percent and Oceania and New Zealand at 0.01 percent.
Eng Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA, said: “Throughout 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic continued to impact various travel markets, which affected our airport. However, with HIA’s continuous strategic planning, service excellence, and investments in the latest technological innovations, we have seen a steady return of passenger traffic growth. This has led to HIA being ranked the sixth busiest airport in the world for international passengers in 2021, according to Airports Council International. This positive trend has continued to the first quarter of this year – where recovery rose to more than one and a half times in the Jan-to-March 2022 period compared to the same period in 2021. The gradual easing of travel restrictions led to a noticeable recovery in demand for air travel mostly by leisure traffic.”
Outlook for 2022
Regarding the traffic outlook for 2022, Al-Meer explained: “We are looking forward to a busy summer period as more travel destinations open up around the world; however, the situation for our industry is expected to remain volatile and dynamic in 2022. We are taking an optimistic view of the year ahead, in which HIA will host fans from around the world for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We are expecting a resurgence in air travel demand during the summer months.”
As preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are underway in Qatar, a wave of upcoming events, new hotels, leisure centres and beaches are set to open in the country – promising hundreds of thousands of tourists and new visitors to come into the country via Hamad International Airport. The airport’s expansion, currently in Phase A, is set to increase the capacity to more than 58 million passengers annually by this year and Phase B, which will commence after the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, will increase the capacity to more than 60 million passengers.
In 2022, HIA is once more a contender for the Skytrax “World’s Best Airport 2022” award and aims to retain its rank as the Best Airport in the World based on its “unsurpassed airport operations and service excellence”, it said. -TradeArabia News Service