2022 FIFA World Cup has airports preparing for 1.7 million visitors
The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off on Sunday, and all eyes are on Qatar. With a population of 3 million and a total geographic area of approximately 11,586 km², the host nation is the smallest country in this year’s World Cup. Across the course of the tournament, Qatar is expected to receive upwards of 1.7 million visitors with the majority of fans arriving by air. How are the host and neighbouring countries planning to accommodate this?
Hamad International Airport (HIA) and Doha International Airport have been intensely preparing for the World Cup. The airports are anticipating approximately 200,000 people a day and the air traffic in both airports has reached an estimated 90 take-offs and landing per hour.
HIA underwent a series of expansion projects to increase the facility’s overall capacity from 29 million to 58 million passengers per annum Badr Al-Meer, airport chief operating officer, confirmed to Qatar News Agency (QNA). The projects included the “provision of 34 aircraft parking spaces on an area of 250,000 square meters.”
The airport also has a new transfer hall on concourse C, which is expected to reduce waiting times at through efficient security and customer service.
To alleviate some of the pressure on HIA, Doha International Airport has been reopened to passenger airlines. It is estimated that Doha International will receive approximately 12 per-cent of all flights to/from Qatar during the World Cup. Before September 2022, the airport had been closed to passenger airlines for eight years.
Flag carrier, Qatar Airways will also be providing Passenger Overflow spaces outside the airports for free use. The area will offer storage space for luggage as well as football festivities and live entertainment for fans.
Despite the extensive preparation, Qatar alone does not have the capacity to accommodate expected number of fans. Instead, people have been encouraged to stay in neighbouring states with daily shuttle services available. Consequently, Doha is expecting 20,000 daily visitors from the gulf to Doha. One key state offering this service is Dubai.
120 shuttle flights will fly in and out of Dubai World Central (DWC) airport daily during the course of the tournament. This is set to increase DWC’s passenger traffic three-fold. According to Gulf News, to accommodate these forecast passengers, the airport has:
- A dedicated front-line team to facilitate efficient processing at every service touchpoint, ensuring a consistently smooth experience and on-time departures.
- More than 60 check-in counters.
- 21 boarding gates.
- 60 passport control counters (departures and arrivals).
- 10 smart gates.
- 4 baggage belts on arrivals.
Discussing the pressure that the World Cup will bring, Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports said:
“A spike in demand of this magnitude would pose a challenge for any airport, but we have had some recent practice. In May-June this year, we orchestrated the almost flawless temporary relocation of more than 1,000 flights a week from Dubai International (DXB) to DWC for the 45-day long DXB northern runway rehabilitation project, while managing an exceptionally strong recovery throughout.”
The Qatar hosted 2022 FIFA World Cup will run 20 November to 18 December. For more content relating to the World Cup read ‘How Qatar Airways are maximising their ancillary revenue from the World Cup.’
Article by Jess Brownlow