Qatar unprepared for World Cup air traffic crush, report says
QUETTA: Qatar’s readiness to handle a mass influx of pilgrims, sports fans and international tourists to the World Cup has been a source of concern to the country’s government, who will have to contend with a rush of air traffic across the country and the sheer amount of tourists expected in the lead-up to the tournament.
A report by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which says that Qatari aviation is over-burdened, has reportedly revealed that the country’s airspace is saturated and is not prepared to handle air traffic in the lead-up to the upcoming football championship in 32 days.
It said that Qatar’s top-flight airports are “too overwhelmed” with extra flights and demand. This, the report added, is a serious concern as the country is preparing to host the World Cup, “the world’s most expensive sporting event”. At the moment, there are more than 15,000 international passengers flying across Qatar every day.
The report also mentioned that during the three-week wait between the end of the football championship and the opening of the tournament on 1 June, there will be a major surge in incoming traffic, adding that the airport’s capacity is not enough to handle such demand and would have to be expanded.
“There are too many flights every day,” a senior Qatari official told the newspaper. “Every hour, another flight arrives to Qatar. We have to increase our capacity by 20% at the moment.”
The report also said that Qatari airports have been facing increased demand and are experiencing “overcrowded conditions”. The airport in the capital Doha, for example, is reported to be expecting 60% more passengers than its capacity.
It said Qatari airports are “not equipped enough to handle the influx of visitors”.
“In many cases, the capacity has reached its limits,” the report quoted a senior official from Qatar’s ministry of transportation as saying. “We have reached a point where the capacity is just not sufficient to handle the influx of visitors.”
The report also said that it has not been prepared for the expected influx of tourists visiting for the World Cup. The minister of tourism