Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar has launched the first phase of its expansion project, which increases its annual passenger handling capacity to 58 million.

This comes days ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which is scheduled to take place from 20 November to 18 December 2022.

This project includes an indoor tropical garden called Orchard, which is located at the centre of the terminal expansion.

It includes more than 300 trees and over 25,000 plants that have been sourced from sustainable forests around the world.

HIA’s new terminal features a wide variety of food, beverage and retail outlets.

As part of the overall airport expansion, HIA also launched the second airport hotel, called Oryx Garden Hotel, within its transfer area.

In addition, the project will see the creation of four new lounges for passengers.

HIA chief operating officer Badr Mohammed Al Meer said: “We are immensely proud to officially launch our airport expansion. Our growth plan will see us welcome over 58 million passengers annually, offering global travellers the best services the industry has to offer.

“Through the expansion, we have upgraded our facilities and offerings, creating the ultimate destination for passengers.”

The project is being executed in two phases, with the Phase A plan now ready and Phase B of the expansion slated to begin in early 2023.

Upon completion, the expansion will increase the airport’s capacity to more than 70 million passengers annually.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “We are very pleased to be launching the expansion of Hamad International Airport, an airport that has truly grown to become the ultimate example of a successful, sustainable global facility.

“The opening of our newly expanded terminal further connects the growing number of travellers to all corners of the world, enriching people’s experiences and proudly representing the State of Qatar’s rich culture and prestige.”