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Artist’s impression of how the expanded Hamad International Airport will look

Hamad International Airport (HIA), Doha, has revealed that an indoor tropical garden and water feature will be at the heart of its second phase expansion.

The 10,000sqm garden will be located in a central concourse along with the 267sqm water feature. The expansion will also include more than 11,000sqm of landscaped retail and food & beverage space.

Construction is due to start early next year and the expansion project will increase the airport’s capacity to more than 53 million passengers annually by 2022. Further extension work to the airport will begin in 2022.

“The expansion of HIA is a vital part of the future success of Qatar Airways Group, and of course the country’s preparations to host the 2022 (soccer) World Cup,” said Qatar Airways Group chief executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker. “Plans for the phase two expansion focuses on capacity and passenger experience – we want to provide even better airport journeys to more people around the world.”

The flora for the indoor tropical garden will be brought in from sustainable forests around the world. A column-free, long-span grid shell roof with performance glass will control and filter the light required for the trees to acclimatise to the internal conditions of the terminal.

But speaking at the unveiling of the expansion plans, Al Baker claimed designs for the airport had been copied by another country. He declined to name the location in question, but according to The Straits Times, it was obvious he was referring to Singapore Changi Airport’s Jewel complex. Jewel opened in April boasting tropical gardens and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Changi Airport Group said it respects intellectual property rights and that Jewel’s designer, Safdie Architects, had never done any work in Qatar.

HIA was ranked as the fourth-best airport in the world and the best airport in the Middle East at the SKYTRAX World Airports Awards 2019. Changi won the world’s best airport, followed by Tokyo Haneda International Airport and Incheon International Airport.

Experience the Jewel at Singapore’s Changi Airport