Qatar Airways today unveiled details of the world’s only dedicated First and Business Class terminal currently under construction at Doha International Airport.Yet another first for one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, the exclusive building will feature innovative facilities to provide its most loyal customers with the best levels of comfort and hospitality prior to catching their flight. This is part of a US$200million expansion at the current airport.
Passengers travelling in First and Business Class with Qatar Airways will be able to enjoy a hassle-free experience from the time they check-in to departure on one of the award-winning airline’s numerous scheduled flights to 70 destinations worldwide.
Speaking at a press conference in Dubai during Arabian Travel Market, Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the new facilities will cater for business and leisure travellers flying in the premium cabins.
Highlights of the new terminal are -
? Self-service check-in kiosks for passengers with hand baggage
? Dedicated e-gates to speed up immigration formalities
? Separate First and Business Class check-in desks
? Dedicated First and Business Class lounges, each with their own dining areas
? Duty-free shopping area of 1,000sqm selling many leading international brands
? Spa, jacuzzi and sauna for passengers to relax and unwind before their flight
? Massage treatments
? Shower and wash rooms
? Children’s play area and nursery
? Conference room and meeting rooms
? Business centre with secretarial services
? Free Internet access stations
? Prayer rooms for men and women
? Medical centre
? Five boarding gates
? An integral part of the design will be an atrium and water feature in the centre of the building
Qatar Airways manages and operates Doha International Airport. It will also be responsible for the new premium class terminal, for exclusive use by Qatar Airways passengers departing for their international flights. Access to the new terminal will be via a new road with ample parking space.
Construction of the 10,000sqm building began earlier this year at a site next to the main terminal at Doha International Airport. Dubai-based Micekraft was appointed by Qatar Airways to design the new terminal interiors. Due to open this summer, the terminal will be operational round-the-clock.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “The new terminal for premium passengers will be a big boost for Qatar Airways. It is the first of its kind, not only in the Middle East, but anywhere in the world.
“Qatar Airways prides itself on providing passengers with the best possible service and hospitality. The new terminal goes one step further by exceeding passenger’s expectations. We truly are being recognised as being an industry leader for being innovative.
“Within the new environment, Qatar Airways will offer all our passengers travelling in First and Business Class the opportunity to relax in their very own exclusive area and enjoy the comforts of the terminal.
“The terminal is designed to create an inviting ambience - one of allowing passengers to relax, unwind and enjoy the excellent facilities such as a spa, jacuzzi, sauna and wonderful duty-free shopping on offer.
“There are dedicated First and Business Class lounges on the first floor featuring separate dining areas with hot and cold food available for passengers throughout the day.”
He added: “For business travellers, we will have a conference room and meeting rooms together with secretarial services, aswell as free access to Internet stations within the terminal. With the introduction of dedicated e-gates, these will ensure passengers registered with e-cards are processed through immigration smoothly and efficiently.
Registered e-card passengers have their biometric personal data - name, passport details and fingerprints - embedded in the smart cards which are swiped through the e-gates prior to entering the departing lounge.
“As some of our passengers will also be travelling with their families, we haven’t forgotten the needs of children who have a special play area, as well as a nursery.”
The new terminal development is part of a raft of improvements currently taking place at Doha International Airport, where the arrival and departure halls are being expanded to cope with the increasing number of passengers flying in and out of the airport.
An additional 21,000sqm of space is being added to the existing airport terminal. The number of boarding gates will be increased from 10 to 16; there will be two additional immigration counters; new e-gates in arrival and departure to speed up processing of passengers; and a sharp increase in the number of aircraft parking bays to ease the existing constraints and cope with the huge expansion of Qatar Airways’ fleet.
By early next year, the number of parking bays at Doha International Airport will more than double from 19 to 40. Qatar Airways is the airport’s largest customer, operating at least 90 per cent of flights.
The airline, which operates 46 all-Airbus jets, will boost its fleet by a further 18 aircraft during 2006 and 2007. The airport expansion will help facilitate the airline’s growth.
The airport terminal expansion is due to be completed by June.
Added Al Baker: “The airport expansion currently underway will significantly improve facilities and services at Doha International Airport.
“We fully understand the inconvenience being caused to passengers in Doha. There are currently capacity constraints at the airport, but we are working round-the-clock to complete the terminal extension and create more parking bays for our expanding fleet,” said Al Baker, who is also Chief Executive Officer of Doha International Airport.