World Cup 2022 flights: 20,000 fans to fly into Doha daily from the Gulf

Football fans in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be able to hop on one of 30 round-trip flights each day

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Qatar Airport will welcome about 20,000 daily visitors from the Gulf to Doha for the World Cup, authorities said.

In a bid to ensure accommodation is available for all ticket holders, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, flydubai and Oman Air will organise more than 160 daily shuttle flights from November 20 to bring supporters on one-day trips to see matches.

Saudia chief executive Ibrahim Koshy said the airline would run at least 30 round-trip flights each day from the cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, with the ability to carry 10,000 fans.

Flydubai is planning at least 30 return flights, Kuwait Airways 10 and Oman Air 24, said Akbar Al Baker, Tourism Minister and Qatar Airways chief executive.

Only those with tickets to matches will be allowed to register for the return flights.

“Like anywhere else, there has always been a shortage of accommodation, so we are not unique. The biggest challenge for us is because everything is happening in one place,” Mr Al Baker said.

He described the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East as a “big cake” that will bring “huge economic benefit”, which Doha aims to share with its Gulf neighbours.

Airport and airspace capacity has been expanded to handle the month during which there will be increased arrivals. Mr Al Baker said some routes to countries not involved in the 32-nation tournament will be halted and others reduced.

Mr Al Baker said Qatar's Hamad International Airport and the older Doha International Airport would see capacity doubled to more than 200,000 people a day to welcome the expected 1.4 million visitors.

He said the three runways at Hamad airport could operate “continuously” during the World Cup and about 70 per cent of Qatar Airways' regular flights would have their times changed so that extra flights can be organised.

The airports would be in charge of handling charter flights and other airlines that have asked to establish regular lines due to the World Cup.

“There will be no room left [for incoming airlines], when you are tailor-making the capacity, for delays, for holding times,” Mr Al Baker warned.

He added that “state of the art immigration systems” would be introduced to speed up the processing of international passengers.

Those who want to stay in Qatar have the option of staying in desert camps in Zafaran, Ras Bu Fontas and Rawdat Al Jahhaniya, with stays starting at $207 for a two-person cabin, or cruise ships moored in Qatar bay in addition to a variety of hotels.

Qatar's desert lodgings — in pictures

Updated: May 26, 2022, 3:58 PM
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