New airport in Qatar receives first flights

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm •  Published: April 30, 2014
Advertisement
;

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A vast new airport in the Qatari capital opened for business following years of delays Wednesday as the natural-gas rich Gulf nation works to transform itself into a major aviation hub and prepares to host one of sporting's biggest events.

A ceremonial Qatar Airways flight landed and was welcomed by aviation's traditional salute of fire engines spraying water overhead to mark the official opening of Hamad International Airport, which shares its name with the Qatari emir who abdicated in favor of his son last year.

It is part of a multibillion-dollar building boom that is transforming the skyline of the Qatari capital, Doha, as it prepares to host soccer's World Cup in 2022.

Abdul Aziz Mohammad al-Noaimi, who chairs the airport steering committee, hailed the new complex as "a source of pride and joy" for all Qataris. He said it can accommodate 30 million passengers annually for now, with plans for further expansion slated over the next several years.

"It will deliver a memorable experience to all passengers that will travel through its gates, an experience that reflects Qatar's status and importance on the world travel and tourism map," he said.

Like the nearby United Arab Emirates, Qatar has invested heavily in its aviation sector in recent years. It has emerged as a major transit center for flights from around the world, competing at times uncomfortably with traditional European and Asian hubs for lucrative long-haul travelers' dollars.

The new airport is only partially operational for now, with ten mainly discount and South Asian airlines operating flights during an initial low-key opening period.

Flag carrier Qatar Airways, its main Gulf rivals Emirates and Etihad Airways, and other international carriers such as Lufthansa and United Airlines are expected to move to the new airport once it's fully operational on May 27.



Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    College of Charleston president orders second investigation of Doug Wojcik
  2. 2
    Joe Paterno's son Jay sues Penn State for 'improper termination'
  3. 3
    Former Dallas Cowboys running back Robert Newhouse dead at 64
  4. 4
    Oklahoma man gets consecutive 20-year terms for rapes of intellectually challenged classmates
  5. 5
    Angels won't cap former OU pitcher Garrett Richards' innings
+ show more