Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, has begun operations with the official landing of Qatar Airways’ A320 flight, which hosted local dignitaries.
The aircraft, which left Doha International Airport just before 11:00am, landed on the new airport’s easterly runway shortly afterwards.
Hamad International Airport has been designed to accommodate 30 million passengers per year and the capacity would be increased to 50 million following full completion.
Spread over an area of 29km², 60% of the new airport is is built on land reclaimed from the Gulf.
Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said: "It is a historic moment, not only in the history of our airline, but for the State of Qatar, to see this Qatar Airways VIP flight touch down at the newly opened Hamad International Airport.
"Today’s highly anticipated opening of the new airport signifies to the world that Doha is now ready to open its doors for passengers to experience an airport that transforms the travel experience, and it is with much excitement that we await the move of all Qatar Airways flights to this new facility on the 27th May."
Following the soft launch, ten airlines are currently operating at the new airport.
The new airlines include Biman Bangladesh Airlines, flydubai, Air Arabia, Iran Air, Air India Express, Yemenia, Pakistan International Airlines, Syrian Airlines, Pegasus Airlines and Nepal Airlines.
Qatar Airways, the national carrier for the state of Qatar, plans move its entire hub operations to Hamad International Airport on 27 May 2014.
Image: QR7450 is greeted by a traditional water salute upon arrival at HIA. Photo: courtesy of Qatar Airways.