As the new Hamad International Airport took shape in Doha at the beginning of the decade it left room to grow. The airport authority knew that it would eventually need more gates and more space to account for growth plans of Qatar Airways, but did not want to build everything right away. Some five years after the airport started handling passengers, however, the next stage of construction is ready to begin. And the feel of this expansion will be surprisingly familiar to world travelers.
The expanded terminal features many of the open and spacious design elements that make the original facility more comfortable for passengers. It will also add features that pull from other top airports around the world. Looking for a tropical garden and massive water feature? Today that can be spotted at Changi International Airport in Singapore. In a few years a spectacularly similar feel will show up in Doha’s expanded concourse. The Doha version will cover 10,000 square meters with garden space and a 268 square meter water feature.
The new terminal adds 11,720 square meters of retail and F&B space while also leaving room to expand the art collection on display. It is unclear if the creepy teddy bear with a lamp coming out of its head will have a sibling at the other end of the terminal or if a new art motif will be chosen.
The expansion of Hamad International Airport is a vital part of the future success of the Qatar Airways Group, and of course of the country’s preparations to host the 2022 World Cup and beyond. It is also a strong sign that Qatar’s economy is robust and acts as a further economic stimulus, providing excellent opportunities for local and international contractors.– Qatar AIrways GCEO Akbar Al Baker
The new terminal will also include a massive new AL Mourjan lounge for Qatar Airways’ premium cabin passengers. The 9,000 square meter facility will sit above the new retail space and offer views of the tropical garden feature. It will also include spas, restaurants, gymnasiums and business center facilities. Gym facilities exist in the airport today, but only as a buy-in option at the transit hotel, not as part of a premium passenger lounge offering.
The expansion project will occur in two phases, with the first complete by 2022, expanding the airport capacity to 53 million passengers per year. This phase also includes the aforementioned lounge, garden and retail expansions. Phase two will extend the D/E concourses further out to bring more contact gates into service. This phase will further increase capacity to 60 million passengers.
It is unclear if the airport authority learned its lesson from some of the smaller design failures of the initial terminal build-out with respect to the new design. Only when it is open to travelers will we know if they’ve taken the need for passengers to recharge their electronic devices seriously, for example. The current terminal is spectacular in its lack of available power points. The number of flights operating from hard stands rather than contact gates is also surprisingly high today. But that’s also a function of the heavily banked schedule that Qatar Airways operates. Just how well the gate growth will accommodate the new flights being added remains to be seen.