13 Jun 2018 – 8:39
By Sachin Kumar | The Peninsula
DOHA: To ensure that thousands of passengers travelling through Hamad International Airport (HIA) do not miss the excitement of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), HIA and Qatar Airways yesterday announced the launch of a football Fan Zone at the airport.
This initiative marks HIA’s latest steps on the country’s journey towards the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. To help prepare Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, HIA is set to increase its passenger capacity from 30 million passengers per year to a target of more than 50 million per year. The airport is also working together with the SC to process the arrival of approximately 96,000 passengers per day during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
From Friday, the matches will be broadcast live at the airport in three beautifully themed viewing areas in concourses A, B and C, as well as in Qatar Duty Free’s (QDF) Marché restaurant, where fans will be able to watch the matches whilst they enjoy a range of hot dishes.
The viewing areas are strategically spread across the terminal so that viewers are close to their boarding gates. The three viewing areas have been designed to resemble a living room, a stadium and a majlis – a traditional Arabic seating area where guests are received. The themes have been carefully selected to ensure that passengers feel fully immersed in the viewing experience and get a taste of what to expect when Qatar hosts the world’s biggest sporting event in 2022.
The public inauguration of the airport Fan Zone was officiated in the presence of Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications, Salam Al Shawa; HIA Vice-President Commercial and Marketing, Abdulaziz Al Mass; and Communications Director at the SC, Fatma Al Nuaimi.
Official 2018 FIFA World Cup memorabilia will also be on sale at QDF’s stores throughout the airport and shoppers will have the opportunity to take selfies alongside the 2018 FIFA World Cup mascot.
The iconic Lamp Bear area of HIA has been transformed to resemble a football pitch, which will feature games and activities for passengers.
The entire terminal will come alive throughout the FIFA World Cup with roaming entertainment such as football freestylers, football jugglers and impromptu football matches around the airport.
Over the next few weeks, it will also have pop-up activations including foosball games and virtual football. Die-hard fans can have their faces painted with the flag of the country they are supporting.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are just two days away from the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, a world-class event which we are extremely excited to be a part of. I am truly delighted to be offering our passengers from across the globe a unique opportunity to experience the joyous atmosphere of the FIFA World Cup as they depart or transit through our award-winning home and hub, HIA.
Passengers from all corners of the globe will be able to watch and support their football teams as they travel through HIA, home to our exclusive football Fan Zone”.
The SC’s Assistant Secretary General for Tournament Affairs, Nasser Al Khater, stated: “Launching the Airport Fan Zone reflects our objective to transfer the atmosphere of the tournament in Russia to people in Qatar who are passionate about football and keen to watch the matches. We also intend to familiarise Qatar’s visitors and passengers in HIA with the Qatari culture and the exceptional experience we will provide for them in 2022. I’d like to thank our partners in HIA and I look forward to working with them to deliver the first World Cup in the region.” Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at Hamad International Airport, commented: “
We’ve worked hard to ensure that our passengers never have to miss a moment of the World Cup while they are at HIA, by bringing some of that excitement to them. As the airport of Qatar, we have a unique opportunity to give the passengers transferring through our airport a peak into the country’s passion for the sport”.