Qatar unprepared for World Cup air traffic crush, report says – AP reports
June 27, 2019 – 4:06am PT
Qatar’s air traffic system is a “waste of time and money” that is costing the nation hundreds of millions of dollars each year, according to a report released by Qatar’s state-owned airline QNA, which is preparing for a major increase in air traffic to and from the Middle East in 2022.
QNA also told the Financial Times it has “made significant investments into upgrading the equipment” at “one of the world’s most modern air traffic control centers.”
QNA also plans to use new radar technology to increase the number of “airspace monitoring sites” within the country, the report said, as well as expanding its aviation network across the Gulf.
QNA currently operates four airports, and the airline plans to double the number of domestic flights by 2023, according to the report.
In 2017, Qatar spent $7.5 million on air traffic control upgrades, which at that time included a “major upgrade” of one of its main hubs in Doha and two air traffic control centers, QNA told the FT.
QNA also reportedly plans to spend $6 billion on air fare revenue sharing, and has pledged to invest more than $1 billion on air transportation in the next five years.
Air traffic in Qatar is expected to increase by about 10 percent during the 2022 World Cup in the country, the FT reported, citing QNA officials. A World Cup official told the paper the goal is to double the number of air travelers to 25 million during the tournament.
“Qatar is currently the only Middle Eastern country that can serve as a host for the World Cup, but it still has a long way to go on aviation infrastructure and industry,” QNA said in its report.