By Mukesh Sharma
Doha, Nov 13 (IANS): Doha's Hamad International Airport (HIA) has opened a leafy extension to its airport with thousands of plants just as the country gears up to receive more than a million fans for the FIFA World Cup to kick off on November 20.
The extended section includes a tropical garden located at the centre, named Orchard. It is an indoor tropical vegetation area with a water feature meant to be a focal point for visitors at HIA. With different flora -- the 'orchard' includes over 300 trees and over 25,000 plants sourced from sustainable forests from around the world.
The unique design allows trees and plants to easily adapt to the internal conditions and grow throughout the life of the airport -- with natural light to create a calming ambience and promote a sense of wellbeing to all who venture inside, a statement by the airport said.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said: "We are very pleased to be launching the expansion of Hamad International Airport, an airport that has truly grown to become the ultimate example of a successful, sustainable global facility. HIA continues to impress with its innovative planning, execution and investment -- enhancing its position as the preferred hub for global travellers and reinforcing HIA's position amongst the top leaders of this industry."
Talking about the project, HIA Chief Operating Officer Badr Mohammed Al Meer, said: "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. 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."
Consisting of one expansive terminal, the two-time world's best airport will enable travellers to seamlessly transfer from one area to another, exploring the wonders that HIA has to offer with its infused warmth and hospitality, a HIA statement said.
The extended airport is designed to significantly reduce waiting time, thanks to the new transfer hall on concourse C (Transfer Hall C). It includes curated Duty Free shops and food and beverage outlets, including first Fendi Cafe and first Ralph's Coffee Shop in an airport. The North node also houses the world's first airport Oreo Cafe.
As part of the expansion, HIA also launched the second airport hotel within its transfer area. Located in the north plaza, the 100-room Oryx Garden Hotel is located moments away from boarding gates.
The airport plans to expand further to augment its capacity to well over 70 million passengers and construct two new concourses within the existing terminal.