Premium fare passengers now have a better reason to book indirect flights via the Gulf. Qatar Airways is making the whole experience of changing planes at its Doha hub much more palatable.
The carrier has leapfrogged the likes of regional rivals Emirates and Gulf Air by splashing out $90 million on a first and business class terminal. The Doha facility is aimed at providing a better experience for premium class transit passengers and one in which they can make productive use of their time. It's also for the use of passengers departing Doha itself.
The terminal occupies 10,000 square metres. It is adjacent to the airport's main terminal and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Until now no other airport either in the Gulf or elsewhere has offered such a facility (the highly acclaimed Lufthansa Frankfurt terminal is restricted to first class passengers and is on a smaller scale).
Over 150 staff have been recruited to work in the terminal whose features include a meet and greet service, health spa, lounges, meeting facilities, secretarial services, medical centre and fine dining. Many of these services are offered free of charge.
The new terminal is part of a package of improvements at Doha where the departure and arrival halls have already been expanded to cope with the airport's rapid growth.
Qatar Airways is the biggest user of Doha. It operates 90 per cent of the airport's flights to 70 worldwide destinations. The carrier expects to carry six million passengers this year. Many of these are travellers flying between Europe, South Africa and Asia via Doha.
In other news ...
Qatar Airways website is still unable to accept bookings for flights starting in the UK. In the meantime passengers can book online through appointed sales agent www.myqatar.co.uk
For further information go to www.qatarairways.co.uk
Report by Alex McWhirter