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Qatar's Hamad International Airport knocks Changi off top spot

Hamad International Airport aims to welcome more than 58 million passengers from next year.

Qatar’s Hamad International Airport has beaten Singapore’s Changi to the ‘Best Airport in the World’ title.

In the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2021 HIA climbed from third position to the top of the table. It also grabbed the title for ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’, ‘Best Airport 25 to 35 million Passengers’, ‘Best Airport Staff in the Middle East’ and ‘Covid-19 Airport Excellence’.

Singapore was knocked off the top spot following an eight year run, coming in third behind second-place Tokyo Haneda Airport. South Korea’s Incheon Airport came in fourth, London’s Heathrow took eighth position and Hong Kong was awarded tenth position.

According to Skytrax, this year’s awards recognise the efforts of airports in meeting the challenges of Covid-19.

“The past 18 months have been the most challenging and financially difficult period ever experienced by the world air transport industry,” it said. “Airports have invested to provide the safest possible environment for their customers and staff during the global pandemic.”

HIA has increased sanitation and retrofitted its existing services with touchless technology at key passenger touch points, such as self-check-in, self-bag-drop and in terminal lifts. It also implemented an automated facial detection system to ensure all staff is wearing face masks. ‘Smart Screening Helmets’ are used to contactless temperature measurement and disinfection robots emit UV light to sanitise areas with high passenger flow.

The airport was the first in the Middle East and Asia to receive a five-star Covid-19 Airport Safety Rating by Skytrax in 2020.

“As travel hubs worldwide were impacted by the pandemic, HIA was undeterred by global travel disruptions and continued with its expansion plans while introducing additional airport health and safety standards,” said a spokesperson for Skytrax. “As the Official Partner for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 we wish Hamad International Airport every success in helping to host such a major event.”

Qatar is preparing to welcome thousands of visitors for the FIFA World Cup next year and the airport will be boosting its capacity to receive 58 million passengers annually.

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