As a “young organization with an approachable, warm and contemporary personality”, Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar, is reimagining its uniform for its customer-facing staff. To set this into motion, HIA has decided to collaborate with Fashion Trust Arabia, “which supports young, emerging fashion designers from the MENA region, making it the ideal partner for this exciting project”.

“We are delighted to partner with Fashion Trust Arabia on this unique initiative, under the patronage of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. Through this collaboration, we are proud to launch our rebranded uniform and at the same time provide Qatari fashion designers with the opportunity to showcase their talent to millions of visitors,” said Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA.

“Fashion Trust Arabia is honored to partner with HIA on this incredible opportunity to place the spotlight on Qatari talents through designing the new official airport uniform that will be seen and recognized by millions; this is truly an iconic moment,” adds Tania Fares, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of FTA.

A call for Qatari Designers has launched online, inviting Qatari fashion designers to participate in a competition, by re-envisioning HIA’s new uniform design and submitting their entries. The airport expects the new uniform design to reflect the organization’s truly vibrant spirit and commitment to offering exceptional passenger experiences. The winning designer will receive a cash prize of 10,000 USD and a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a legacy with Qatar’s airport and to showcase their creation to millions of travelers who travel through HIA annually.

Pulse talked to Engr. Al Meer about the collaboration, and about HIA, the sixth busiest airport in the world.

HIA was the first Middle Eastern airport to win Skytraxs prestigious Worlds Best Airport Award for 2021. How do you explain this amazing success story? And what are your plans to beat the record of Singapores Changi airport, that held first place for seven consecutive years?

Owing to its safe and seamless connectivity during the pandemic, and the airport’s commitment to operational excellence and passenger well-being, HIA won the title of Skytrax’s World’s Best Airport for 2021. HIA has proved its excellence in catering to diverse passenger needs with skilled expertise and the utmost understanding, to deliver a vibrant, comfortable, and convenient airport journey for all.

HIA is a competitive entity in the aviation industry, with its focus on its passengers and their needs. At the end of the day, our passengers are spoilt for choice with the world’s best contemporary offerings and innovative facilities, which are curated to boost the passengers’ experience and their well-being.

HIA is the sixth busiest airport in the world. What are your plans to push it into the top 3 in the years to come?

HIA is currently going through an expansion project to accommodate the growth of the nation and the growing number of passengers it serves each year. The airport expansion will increase its current passenger capacity to over 60 million passengers per annum once fully completed. The airport is also expanding its network and attracting new airline partners by offering turnkey solutions for their airport operations and ground handling needs.

The airport’s expansion plan will also further enhance its lifestyle offerings by introducing new high-end fashion brands showcasing concept stores and exclusive products. More food and beverage options will be available, spread out across an indoor tropical garden, so passengers can enjoy an al fresco style dining experience within the terminal. A brand new airport hotel will also open soon, catering to passengers with long transfer stays at the airport. Qatar Airways will also launch a stunning new lounge for its premium passengers.

The national carrier, Qatar Airways, continues to grow its network, which currently stands at 153 destinations, which will further increase passenger throughput at the airport.

The State of Qatar aims to drive forward the country’s tourism goals. The Qatar Tourism Strategy 2030 sets an ambitious target to attract over six million international visitors a year by 2030, making Qatar the fastest growing destination in the Middle East. This drive will further boost HIA’s passenger figures.

What can you tell us about the expansion of HIA? What are you most proud of?

HIA is proud of the prominence given to sustainability in the various aspects of the airport expansion plan. It is targeting a minimum 3-Star GSAS sustainability rating for various airport expansion projects, including the Central Concourse, Lounges, Hotel and the Remote Transfer Baggage Facility building. HIA will be the first airport in the region and the world to achieve the GSAS certification. The Central Concourse and Concourses D & E are aiming to achieve LEED Silver, the globally recognized Green Building certification.

The expansion also looks into the well-being of our passengers as they travel through our airport. We aim to inspire positive emotions and take the stress out of travel, and will introduce a 10,000 sqm indoor tropical garden and 268 sqm water feature. The Tropical Garden will provide passengers an opportunity to be part of a didactic experience to showcase the importance of environmental conservation to all passengers. The flora for the indoor garden has been brought in from sustainable forests from around the world. All the plants have been selected to acclimatize to the internal conditions of the terminal, minimizing the ecological impact of the development, and will continue to grow throughout the life of the airport.  The expansion’s design will allow passenger flow to seamlessly tie up with the existing terminal and at the same time, improve the overall passenger experience, including minimizing travel distances for connections, and providing clarity and intuitive way-finding.

Every HIA passenger has stopped in front of the Lamp Bear” and the Small Lie” at least once. Are you planning to add more art and culture to the airport, and if so, will you consider Arab artists?

The art displayed at HIA makes a big impression. It seeks to inspire the millions of visitors and residents flying through the airport and prove that art can be enjoyed far beyond the confines of a gallery. It is of course part of Qatar Museum’s successful public art program, which can be seen across the country.

The airport displays art by international, regional and local artists. The latest addition is the beautiful golden falcon and Qatari artist Ali Hassan’s iconic Desert Horse sculpture has been a prominent feature at the airport from the start of its operations. A Message of Peace to the World by Iraqi artist Ahmed Al Bahrani can also be seen and London-based Iraqi artist Dia Al Azzawi sculpted the Flying Man to celebrate travelling in the modern age.

In partnership with Qatar Museum’s program, HIA looks forward to receiving new and inspiring pieces, which will further its unique collection at the terminal.

Why did you choose to include and support young talents, through FTA, to revamp the uniforms of HIAs employees? How can you describe your collaboration with FTA? What are your expectations?

HIA is a young organization, with an approachable, warm and contemporary personality. To reflect this personality, HIA has decided to redesign its customer facing staff uniforms.  Hence the collaboration with Fashion Trust Arabia was formed. FTA is a non-profit initiative that supports young and emerging fashion designers from the MENA region, making it the ideal partner for this exciting project.

A call for artists has launched online today, inviting Qatari fashion designers to participate in a contest to reimagine HIA’s uniform design and submit their entries. The winner will be selected and provide their design to HIA for production. We expect the new HIA uniforms to reflect the organization’s true vibrant spirit, and commitment to offering exceptional passenger experiences.

Stay tuned for further updates.