‘Adapt & Survive’: Ioannis Metsovitis, SVP Operations, Hamad Airport

By Luke Barras-hill |

ADAPT-AND-SURVIVE-Hamad-460x306Hamad International Airport (HIA) says its ambitious second stage expansion project remains on track ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar in 2022 (21 November – 18 December).

As reported, HIA is adding more than 11,700sq m of contemporary retail & F&B space as part of a two-phase programme.

Phase A of the expansion comprises the central concourse linking concourses D and E and will lift the airport’s capacity to more than 53 million by 2022.

Phase B, taking place after 2022, will extend concourses D and E to enable HIA to handle more than 60 million passengers annually.

“For us, in this negative environment, we’ve never taken our foot off the gas pedal,” said HIA Senior Vice President Operations Ioannis Metsovitis in an Adapt & Survive video interview.

Asked whether HIA is confident in meeting the timescales it originally set itself, Metsovitis responded: “We’ve used whatever opportunity we can to accelerate the projects to be sure we given ourselves a bit more headroom as far as scheduling is concerned to recover any potential delays we might see down the line. For the time being, we are on schedule and confident we will be ready for 2022.”

TRAFFIC PICKING UP

Metsovitis confirms that passenger traffic is slowly picking up again and volumes are now reportedly three times higher than in May, when traffic bottomed out.

While HIA acknowledges the innate qualities of a tactile retail & F&B experience, it is striving to introduce new technology.

Touchless payments and virtual shopping tools (where possible) are being promoted by the airport and its partners.

“I believe travellers and staff feel a lot more comfortable when they can select the product without touching it,” said Metsovitis. “Touch is still a very important human behaviour and our effort is to try to supplement that human behaviour with technology.”

The TRBusiness ‘Adapt and Survive’ Skype video interview series is a direct response to the industry’s critical need for direct, factual and analytical commentary and – in typical TRBusiness fashion – interprets clearly and concisely the challenges faced by travel retail during Covid-19.

Adapt & Survive asks members of the travel retail industry community, often working from home, for their candid commentary on the constantly evolving Covid-19 pandemic.

To register your interest in the Adapt and Survive series, please contact one of the editorial team at the following addresses: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

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