NEW DESTINATIONS

Qatar 2019 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, COO of Hamad International Airport (HIA) on the Transport sector.

Badr Mohammed Al-Meer
BIOGRAPHY
Badr Mohammed Al-Meer has been COO at Hamad International Airport (HIA), Doha, Qatar since June 2014. Al-Meer is responsible for the running of the entity that leads and manages the day-to-day operations of one of the world’s state-of-the-art airport hubs. Prior to joining HIA, he served nine years in United Development Company (UDC), one of Qatar’s leading public shareholding companies. As an accomplished professional with more than 10 years of experience in construction and project management, he has held executive positions and board member seats in some of Qatar’s largest development projects. Al-Meer holds degrees in engineering from the American University of Beirut and the University of Colorado.

Aside from being recognized as fifth-best airport in the world at the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2018, what have been the latest milestones and achievements for HIA?

HIA received several awards in 2018. We gained the ISO20000 certification for our IT Service Management and the ISO55001 for our asset and facilities management. In October 2018, we successfully completed the first major phase of the Smart Airport program enabling Qatar Airways to process more than 25% of its passengers through self-check-in and baggage-drop.

How does HIA plan to attract more visitors?

HIA was designed to accommodate 24 million passengers annually, and we currently handle more than 35 million. This is far above our designed capacity, but we aim to further increase passenger numbers. Qatar Airways is expanding to a number of new destinations and waiting on the delivery of new aircraft. Many foreign airline partners are also joining HIA's network, further increasing passenger numbers. In addition, Qatar's Ministry of Interior has started a Visa on Arrival scheme for 80-plus countries.

How does HIA work to align its strategy with Qatar's National Vision (QNV) 2030?

We see ourselves as one of the most important parts of the transportation pillar of QNV 2030. Given the closure of land borders, transport is only possible through our ports or airports, which is one of the reasons we see an increase in passenger numbers and airlines.

What is HIA's outlook for 2019 and beyond?

Our challenge is the expansion of the airport; we will be extremely busy with this mega project. At the same time, we need to make sure we continue to focus on our customers and provide them with a seamless experience. The preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup started two years ago, and we have had enough time to create innovative plans that are now in place.