Doha Airport Sees Passengers Increase 162% As It Gears Up For The World Cup

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The airport is well-prepared for the FIFA World Cup at the end of 2022.

Hamad International Airport in Doha served 7.14 million passengers in the first quarter of 2022, a 162% increase in passenger traffic compared to last year. The airport, preparing for a busy year with the FIFA World Cup on the horizon, noted a huge return in demand for leisure travel driving its resurgence.

HIA enjoys excellent start to 2022

Hamad International Airport (HIA) has overseen a strong recovery in the first three months of 2022 after serving over seven million travelers. Qatar’s principal airport served 2,163,086 passengers in January, 2,168,265 passengers in February and 2,812,874 passengers in March, amounting to 7,144,225 in total for Q1 2022.

These figures represent a 162% increase in passenger traffic compared to the same period in 2021.


Demand for leisure travel helped HIA over Q1. Photo: Hamad International Airport

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA, said,

“Recovery rose to more than one and a half times in the Jan-to-March 2022 period compared to the same period in 2021. The gradual easing of travel restrictions led to a noticeable recovery in demand for air travel mostly by leisure traffic.”

Over Q1 2022, HIA saw 48,680 aircraft movements, up by 30%. The airport also handled 585,448 tonnes of cargo and added two new cargo destinations to its network.

Qatar Airways 787 Dreamliner Getty

HIA now serves over 150 destinations worldwide. Photo: Getty Images

Badr Al Meer added,

“Throughout 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact various travel markets, which affected our airport. However, with HIA’s continuous strategic planning, service excellence, and investments in the latest technological innovations, we have seen a steady return of passenger traffic growth. This has led to HIA being ranked the sixth busiest airport in the world for international passengers in 2021, according to Airports Council International.”

The airport celebrated a 41% passenger boost in 2021 compared to its 2020 performance, serving over 17 million travelers over the year.

Pre-pandemic, the airport handled over 38 million travelers in 2019 and had projected up to 50 million travelers in 2020 before the industry downturn.

Far East market leads the way

HIA’s resurgence was driven by its Far East market, which held the highest market share in this period at over 30%. Its Europe market came in a close second at over 25%.

The full market share breakdown is as follows:

  • Far East – 30.93%
  • Europe – 25.20%
  • Middle East – 16.71%
  • Africa – 12.66 %
  • North America – 11.02 %
  • Australia – 2.23 %
  • South America – 1.22 %
  • Oceania and New Zealand at 0.01 %
hamad airport2

Destinations in the Far East and Europe proved popular. Photo: Hamad International Airport

The top 5 busiest departing destinations from HIA were Heathrow (LHR), Colombo (CMB), Kathmandu (KTM), Dubai (DXB) and Male (MLE). HIA added three new passenger destinations to its network in Q1 2022, taking its total destinations served to 153.

Discover more aviation news with Simple Flying.

World Cup preparations

Qatar is the host of this year’s FIFA World Cup, taking place in November and December, with the event expected to attract over 1.5 million visitors to the country.

Hamad International Airport

HIA is a contender for the SKYTRAX World’s Best Airport 2022 award. Photo: Hamad International Airport

Badr Al-Meer said,

“We are looking forward to a busy summer period as more travel destinations open up around the world; however, the situation for our industry is expected to remain volatile and dynamic in 2022. We are taking an optimistic view of the year ahead, in which HIA will host fans from around the world for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We are expecting a resurgence in air travel demand during the summer months.”

Hamad International Airport is currently in Phase A of a two-phase expansion project to increase its annual capacity. The completion of Phase A, which will happen before the World Cup, will boost the airport’s annual capacity to around 58 million passengers.

Have you visited Hamad International Airport this year? Do you have any trips to Doha coming up? Let us know in the comments.

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