Qatar weighs up second terminal at Hamad International Airport

Qatar Airways is transferring operations to Hamad International Airport this month. The new hub is designed to accommodate 30 million passengers annually, rising to 50 million at full capacity.
Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, built at a cost of US$17 billion, welcomed its first commercial flight on April 30. EPA
Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, built at a cost of US$17 billion, welcomed its first commercial flight on April 30. EPA

Qatar could add a second terminal to its new airport ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup if passenger growth outpaces projections, according to the chief executive of the national carrier.

The disclosure coincides with the opening of the long-delayed US$17 billion Hamad International Airport and comes as Qatar Airways prepares to disclose financial information.

“We have space at the airport for a second terminal to cope with additional demand,” said the Qatar Airways chief executive, Akbar Al Baker. “But we will only have a second terminal if we feel demand is moving ahead of the capacity of the airport.”

The carrier is this month transferring operations to Hamad International Airport. The new hub is designed to accommodate 30 million passengers annually, rising to 50 million at full capacity. But if expanded, it could cope with as many as 80 million passengers.

Qatar Airways became a member of the oneworld global alliance network last year, the only Arabian Gulf carrier to have become part of such a global group. It is considering sharing revenues with some of those partners including British Airways.

Mr Al Baker revealed that the airline was also preparing to disclose financial information.

“Once the last financial year audit is complete we will tell you how much we make,” he told reporters.

However, he declined to say whether the company would publish its full financial performance or just selected numbers.

The carrier could be ready to disclose details before the third quarter of the year, Mr Al Baker told reporters at the Arabian Travel Market yesterday.

He also said that Qatar Airways had been fully owned by the emirate’s government since last July, when the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund, bought out the half-stake held by private investors including a former prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim.

Like its regional rivals, Qatar Airways is adding capacity to funnel more global passenger traffic through its Doha hub with more than 300 aircraft on order worth about US$60 billion including the Boeing 787 and 777X. It expects to take delivery of 80 A350 Airbus planes this year. It currently operates 131 aircraft to 137 destinations and plans to add at least another seven through July.

The airline yesterday confirmed it expected to receive its first Airbus A380-800 by early next month, with another 12 to follow. That order for superjumbos could be increased according to Mr Al Baker, who declined to give further details.

Qatar Airways will introduce a new all-business class service to London Heathrow from May 15 with an Airbus A319 aircraft. It is also gearing up to launch domestic operations in Saudi Arabia with its new Al Maha carrier scheduled to start flying in November. It expects to have 10 A320 aircraft in service within the first year of domestic operation. It also expects to win consent to operate international flights through its new unit once its domestic operation is established, Mr Al Baker said.

Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways are together rapidly increasing flight connections into Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, creating growing air traffic control problems. That is demanding greater cooperation between regional regulators to free up more air space currently earmarked for military use.

scronin@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights

Published: May 5, 2014 04:00 AM

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