HIA expansion reveals ahead of FIFA World Cup

By Luke Barras-hill |

HIA expansion

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off on Sunday 20 November.

[UPDATED] Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha inaugurated its much-anticipated terminal expansion today (10 November), 10 days ahead of the opening match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (20 November – 18 December).

The newly expanded terminal adds 16,000sq m of contemporary retail and F&B space within the ‘Orchard’ located in the Central Concourse at the North Plaza of Hamad International Airport.

An indoor tropical garden, water feature and new commercial outlets (more below) are housed under a long span 85-metre grid shell roof.

These are among several other operational developments to have evolved since TRBusiness initially reported news of the terminal expansion in 2019.

Number of retail ‘firsts’

The airport is increasing the HIA retail offer from 90 outlets to more than 175 shops, TRBusiness was told recently, with Qatar Duty Free presenting a number of ‘firsts’ and ‘exclusives’ (see below) including a Fendi boutique featuring the first Fendi Café in an airport.

During a press conference held today, HE Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive, Qatar Airways Group, said: “This expansion marks a major step in terms of the advancement of tourism in Qatar and global activity and connectivity through this fine airport, especially given the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022.

The ‘Orchard’ is the focal point of the Central Concourse and features more than 40 new retail stores and many world-leading luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Dior, spread over three levels. Source: Qatar Airways/Twitter.

“For years, HIA has continuously delivered on its promise to define elegance, style and sustainability as befitting of the leading airport worldwide. HIA’s expansion is on its way to reaching the goal of becoming the airport of the future and enhances amenities by integrating world-class art, while providing a premium retail experience and innovative dining concepts.”

HIA’s main terminal has been extended by 125,000sq m over three levels, while further renovations have been conducted to 14,000sq m of the existing terminal to integrate it with the expansion project. This enables HIA to operate a single terminal of 725,000sq m.

In his address, Al Baker spoke about the terminal expansion acting not only to prioritise the needs of passengers via innovative enhancements, but serving as a gateway to stimulate tourism to the country. Qatar connects passengers to more than 150 destinations.

L-R: H.E. Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways and Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer, Hamad International Airport addressed a press conference (below) earlier today. Source: HIA Qatar.

“This milestone marks the start of this FIFA journey; it represents many years of hard work and vast collective effort in our country as we prepare to welcome the world with open arms,” he continued.

Phase A of the terminal expansion project increases capacity to more than 58 million passengers ahead of phase B, which will lift capacity to up to 75 million passengers as part of developments after the conclusion of the football tournament.

A 95,000sq-plus extension of Concourses D and E will connect the Orchard and convert adjacent remote aircraft stands to contact gates.

A new western Satellite Concourse of circa 300,000sq m will convert 34 remote aircraft stands to contact gates with an automated people mover connection to the passenger terminal.

Al Baker added: “The first part of that expansion will start from January next year. It will extend the concourses on either side of the Orchard in order to connect another 24 aerobridges and the final part of the expansion will happen beyond the second runway to the west, which will have a concourse catering to the 34 aircraft stands that are built and completed.

“We have already built an underground train station below this terminal, which will be activated when we complete this concourse.”

Chief Operating Officer at HIA Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer added: “We are immensely proud to officially launch our airport expansion. Our growth plan will see us welcome over 58 million passengers annually – offering global travellers the best services the industry has to offer.

Orchard (pictured and below) includes over 300 trees and in excess of 25,000 plants sourced from sustainable forests from around the world.

“Through the expansion, we have upgraded our facilities and offerings – creating the ultimate destination for passengers. From world-class services to endless F&B and retail offerings, the expansion further strengthens our ambition as we look towards maintaining our status as the best airport in the world.”

On the retail side, an enhanced mix at the Orchard gathers a number of luxury boutiques such as the first Dior boutique at HIA, the only FIFA shop in the world, the only Thom Brown shop at an airport and the largest Ray-Ban store at an airport.

There are more than 40 new retail stores alone at the Orchard, which is flanked by a multifarious F&B mix of more than 20 cafes and restaurants offering local and global cuisine.

These join a lineup of leading brands, from the Louis Vuitton boutique to Burberry, Tiffany and Co. and Bulgari, with more to come.

The newly announced Orchard indoor tropical garden spanning 6,000sq m at the heart of the terminal expansion boasts a 575sq m attractive water feature and a host of different flora – in excess of 300 trees and more than 25,000 plants sourced from sustainable forests from around the world.

Flooded with natural light, the Orchard has been designed to create a calming ambience while promoting a sense of wellbeing for those exploring and benefits from the grid shell roof’s performance glass to control and filter the light.

This feeds into a number of developments across the expansive terminal, developed to allow travellers to transfer seamlessly from one area to another while perusing amenities that include art collections and luxury shops.

HIA has four new lounges for passengers to relax and unwind – the Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden; ‘Al Mourjan Business Lounge – North’; Platinum and Gold lounge – North; and ‘Silver Lounge – North.

Meanwhile, the new transfer hall on concourse C (transfer hall C) improves security and customer service efficiency, says HIA.

A heavy emphasis on sustainability is emphasised by four of HIA’s expansion projects achieving a four-star rating under the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) from the Gulf Organization for Research & Development (GORD).

This covers the Orchard, Oryx Garden Hotel & north plaza lounges, Al Mourjan Business lounge – the Garden, and the remote transfer baggage facility.

More to follow…

Main image source: Qatar Airways/Twitter.

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