Qatar unprepared for World Cup air traffic crush, report says
Doha Metro, Qatar Arab News. Published on May 26, 2014
Qatar needs more air traffic controllers to cope with the World Cup’s air traffic crush, a top official in the country’s transport authority has told the Doha Metro.
Transport Minister Mohammad Naji Bashayek said the traffic will be as high as during a similar event such as the 2012 Olympics.
“Our problem is that most of our air traffic controllers in the world are not here at the World Cup,” he said.
“The situation isn’t easy because the World Cup involves a lot of flights,” he said.
Doha is preparing for a crush of more than 3,000 international flights for this year’s tournament, including as much as 50,000 by Qatar Airways alone over a three-and-a-half-month period.
So far, traffic has been manageable in the run-up to the event with the help of a large number of foreign aircraft.
But the World Cup organisers have given Qatar only two hours to prepare the country from Saturday through to September 30 for the extra flights that come from all corners of the world.
On average, there will be about 1,600 flights each day during that period, and it will take the air traffic controller community seven to 10 days to absorb all of the incoming flights, Bashayek said.
The World Cup is the most expensive football tournament in history, with organisers expecting to spend $8bn on the tournament. Officials say the tournament will increase Qatar’s tax receipts by about $6bn.
The final preparations for the event have been completed in Qatar and there is no need to increase capacity.
“We have worked hard on the construction of the airport,” he said. “There is no need to build new airport.”