UAS International Trip Support is warning aircraft operators who plan to attend the FIFA World Cup in Qatar this year to secure their airport slots and accommodation as soon as possible.
The World Cup takes place in Doha from November 20 to December 18. FIFA predicts around 1.2 million football fans will travel to Qatar to attend matches throughout the tournament.
In the run-up to and during the event, industry analysts predict there will be 1,300 flights and up to 10,000 travelers entering Qatar every day.
The volume of air traffic is set to put enormous pressure on slot availability at Hamad International Airport and Doha International Airport, as well as hotel room availability in Doha and the surrounding areas.
UAS has a dedicated World Cup team in Dubai to provide trip support, air charter, and executive travel solutions for VIP travelers. UAS operations director, James Collas said, “World Cup ticket holders don’t have any time to waste to plan their World Cup experience. There are so many options that include direct operations to Qatar or travel via neighboring Middle Eastern countries such as the UAE.
“It’s the first time the Middle East has hosted the World Cup and the demand for permits, slots, ground handling, and other related services is massive.
Speaking at a panel discussion organized by UAS at the NBAA-BACE 2022 event in Orlando, Florida, Tim Ford, president and managing director of operations software company myairops said, “It doesn’t matter how much investment you put in, it would be a strain anywhere. There will be limitations to overnight parking and you may need to look further afield. Planning ahead needs to be a crucial part of the process.
“Your risk assessment also needs to be comprehensive and cover not just the airspace but also on the ground, ensuring you have arrangements for onward travel and emergency medical services in the region.”
Additionally, aircraft operators need to consider aspects such as overflight permits and hotel accommodation, while passengers and air crew need to be made aware of laws around alcohol and dress and attire.
Matt Borie, chief intelligence officer from aviation risk analysts Osprey said, “Qatar is one of the safest countries in the Middle East, but you need to consider the unpredictable nature of the region. To get to Qatar you need to fly overfly Iran, Iraq or Saudi Arabia, where the prospect of attacks needs to be considered.
“If you miss your slot in Qatar you need to have alternate locations preplanned as if they were your primary and plan your alternative airspace.”