Qatar unprepared for World Cup air traffic crush, report says
Doha, Qatar: Qatar’s preparations for hosting the 2010 World Cup have been hindered by a severe congestion in the nation’s airspace during the months leading up to and following the competition, a report said.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation, which manages airspace, said its ground handling units had “unprecedented” traffic delays last year, including “a huge increase in the handling loads for the World Cup”, the Gulf state said.
The ministry said in a press statement that the World Cup had led to “a major increase” in air traffic congestion in the Persian Gulf and caused a number of airports to suspend services during the period.
Air routes and airports in Saudi Arabia were affected “in addition to ground handling units and other entities in Qatar and the Emirates”, it said.
“With the increased demand of flights, the delay in the start of traffic in the Gulf increased the load on the ground handling units.
“Additionally, with the increase in flights the frequency of landing and takeoff operations increased.
“This caused additional congestion in the ground handling units, a situation that is not uncommon in busy events,” it said.
Qatar Airways said it had suffered a “significant increase in the traffic on its network during the World Cup”, the report added.
It said it had recorded an increase of 13.5 per cent in the number of passengers travelling by air from Doha to foreign destinations compared to the same period last year.
It blamed the increase on an increase in passenger numbers, “the increase in air traffic volumes during the FIFA Football World Cup and the need to deal with increased air space management during such events.” (ANI)
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