Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
In response to the pandemic, HIA redefined its airport experience, introduced new protocols designed to ensure a smooth passenger journey and adopted the latest safety measures in accordance with global standards.
Among the changes, HIA invested in Smart Screening Helmets, wearable intelligent helmets that are portable, safe and effective. They enable contactless temperature measurement using advanced technologies. The airline’s disinfectant robots, fully autonomous mobile devices, eliminate the majority of infectious microorganisms by emitting concentrated UV light. HIA installed UVC Disinfection Tunnels in its terminal to decontaminate inbound luggage from arriving passengers; and C2 technology, the latest security screening system that allows transferring passengers to move through security checkpoints without having to take out any electronic devices from their bags.
Using computer vision and artificial intelligence, HIA’s internal teams developed an automated facial detection system to ensure the wearing of masks, and Hamad was the first airport to trial an innovative prototype of cabin baggage x-ray screening with UV-C disinfectant lights retrofitted into the scanners’ trail return systems. Self-service kiosk screens were transformed to contactless screens with the help of infrared technology, and the airport’s elevator controls are now also contactless.
HIA’s expansion project will be integrated with the existing terminal, allowing passengers to seamlessly transfer from one area to the other, enabling the airport to continue to operate with a single expansive terminal. Divided into two phases, Phase A is set to increase HIA’s capacity to 58 million passengers annually by 2022 and Phase B, which will commence post-2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, will increase capacity to more than 60 million passengers per year.
The expansion will integrate a world-class art collection with a refreshing environment of lush greenery and contemporary retail and dining concepts among other leisure attractions. A 10,000-square-meter indoor tropical garden and water feature will be introduced to inspire a positive travel experience and alleviate stress. The Tropical Garden will provide passengers an educational experience that showcases the importance of environmental conservation.
Hamad International Airport’s duty free recently launched ‘Viale di Lusso’, a new premium fashion avenue at the terminal, housing the first airport boutique in the Middle East for the renowned fashion designer Valentino, as well as prestigious designer labels such as Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Jimmy Choo and Pucci, elevating Qatar Duty Free’s existing impressive collection of brands.
Additionally, since 2014, the airport has been committed to environmental sustainability with its pledge to improve carbon efficiency per passenger by 30 percent by 2030. The airport subsequently witnessed a steady reduction in overall CO2 emissions and received Level 3 certification by Airport Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program. HIA amplifies natural daylight through its design and architecture. In addition to an automated lighting control system, the terminal roof incorporates glass, decreasing the need for artificial lights during daytime. The terminal building utilizes a solar shade system and LED lights wherever possible to raise energy efficiency. And, in line with its future goals, the airport expansion also aims to make Hamad International Airport the first airport in the MENA region to achieve a 4-star Global Sustainability Assessment System rating and a LEED Silver certified building.
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