Cargo flights at Hamad International Airport to begin ‘within a month’

Cargo flights at the new Hamad International Airport (HIA) are expected to begin within “a month”, a top official has told Gulf Times.
“We are using the cargo terminal for the freight [already,] but the actual landing [of the cargo flights] will take place a month’s time from now,” said Abdul Aziz al-Noaimi, chairman, New Doha International Airport Steering Committee.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference on Wednesday when the “phased opening by mid-2014” of the new airport was announced.
A spokesperson of the committee also confirmed that at the moment cargo flights were not landing at HIA, but the terminal was being used to store freight.
HIA’s cargo terminal had received the first Qatar Airways cargo shipment on December 1, 2013. The shipment, for Qatar Petroleum, was transferred from Europe to Doha International Airport by air and then onwards to the new cargo terminal at HIA via land.
The cargo terminal at HIA, with an annual capacity of 1.4mn tonnes, is described as one of the world’s biggest cargo facilities.
The facility is fully automated to receive, store and handle air freight for import, transit and export traffic. The cargo apron, which has 11 hardstands, can accommodate wide-body aircraft. The complex includes a 4,300sq m Live Animal Centre for temporary accommodation and inspection of large and small animals.
The 16,000sq m Duty Free Warehouse consists of 21 loading docks – nine on landside and 12 airside.
For the first time, journalists were given a photo opportunity to stand on HIA’s runway itself. The various tyre marks on the runway gave evidence that the airport was being vigorously tested for operations.
The HIA has two parallel runways, 2km apart, allowing for independent and simultaneous operations.
The 4,850m Eastern Runway is the longest commercial runway at sea level in the world. The Western Runway is 4,250m long. Both runways are 60m wide and capable of unrestricted A-380 superjumbo operations.
The new airport has been designed with all facilities placed between the two runways to service both the Eastern and Western runways. Officials say that the midfield placement design ensures efficiency in facility usage.
The over 29-hectare man-made lagoon, spread between HIA’s passenger terminal and Emiri terminal, in effect brings the Arabian Gulf into the new airport itself.
The Air Traffic Control Tower is beautifully designed. The ATC has 26-levels, stands 85m tall and offers a 360 degrees panoramic view of runways, taxiways and all airport facilities.
It is made up of 26 separate systems, providing state-of-the-art aircraft control. Traffic capacity is around 100 movements per hour for both runways or approximately 50 movements per runway.

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