2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar – Business Aviation Planning Guide

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The FIFA World Cup 2022 will take place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December 2022. This event marks the first time the World Cup has ever been held in an Arab nation.

The event is estimated to draw upward of 1.7 million visitors to Qatar. However, business aviation traffic is not expected to match the numbers of previous World Cups. There are a variety of reasons for this:

  • To avoid Qatar’s brutal summer heat, the World Cup will be held later this year – 20 November to 18 December 2022, butting up against the holiday season.
  • There is also significant negative press regarding the human rights violations of migrant workers brought into Qatar to build venues for the event.
  • There is no parking at all in Qatar for the event. Every operation will be a drop-and-go.
  • Hotels will not be available at all for crew. All hotel accommodations require a ticket to the games.

Despite those deterrents, the World Cup will still be a high-traffic business aviation event and it’s imperative to plan ahead if you plan on attending.

Here’s everything you need to know if you plan to attend the World Cup on a business aircraft.


Qatar World Cup Visitor Projections

Attendance forecasts project 1.7 million visitors to Qatar for the World Cup and as many as 500,000 on the busiest days of the tournament. FIFA is estimating 110,000 passengers a day at the two primary airports during the tournament.

The majority of visitors will be from GCC States (37 percent), followed by Europe (26 percent). Just eight percent of visitors will be from North America.


Venues Much Closer Together than Previous World Cups

Unlike previous World Cups, including the most recent tournament in Brazil, the Qatar World Cup venues are all within close proximity of each other, with the largest distance between stadiums just 55 kilometers. This is far different than previous events where stadiums were spread across large geographic regions and, in some cases, hundreds of miles.


Host airports

Doha International Airport

All flights entering Qatar for the World Cup will go to either Hamad International (OTHH) or Doha International (OTBD). The airports are less than 15 minutes away from each other.

All scheduled airline flights will be accommodated at OTHH.  All charter flights will be accommodated at either OTHH or OTBD. GA/BA flights will be accommodated primarily at OTBD. State and VVIP flights will be accommodated at either airport based on local authorities’ requirements.

Hamad International Airport


Airport slot overview

All GA flights will require slots, which became available to request starting Aug, 15, 2022.

Exceptions are:

  • National Football teams will be handled on a priority basis.
  • All other slots handled on a first come, first served basis
  • Types of flights excluded from the local slot restrictions:
  • Military flights
  • State flights
  • SAR flights (Saudi Arabian Royal)
  • Emergency flights
  • Humanitarian flights

Qatar requires a $5,000 slot deposit for every entry into Qatar. The deposit will be applied to your landing fees. Operators will also need to have a Ground Handling Clearance Number when applying for slots, proving they have arranged ground handling services with a local provider.

The official slot application process can be seen here.


Slot Penalties

Qatar will impose severe monetary penalties for cancelations within 24 hours of your slot window. Slot revisions on the day of operations will be rejected.

  • Slot cancellations received on the day of operations and/or non-operation of an approved slot (no show) will be subject to penalties:
  • 100 USD per seat per flight leg for charter passenger flight and loss of slot booking deposit (5,000 usd)
  • 20,000 usd per flight for GA/BA flights and loss of slot booking deposit (5,000 usd)
  • 30,000 per flight for charter cargo flight and loss of slot booking deposit (5,000 usd)
  • Slot misuse penalty
  • 5,000 usd for arrivals of +/- 20 minutes deviation from approved slot, for flights with a flight time of 5 hours or less
  • 5,000 usd for arrivals of +/- 35 minutes deviation from approved slot, for flights with a flight time of 5 hours 01 minute or more
  • 5,000 usd per flight leg for flights operating with an aircraft type of a higher ICAO category than the one approved

The following exclusions from the penalty apply (for reasons outside of the operator’s control)

  • Damage to aircraft during flight/ground operations
  • Adverse weather
  • Air traffic flow management
  • Industrial action
  • Mandatory security

Parking

No parking available for the duration of the games with the exception of a small number of OFFICIAL event sponsors.

  • Maximum ground time allowed for wide body aircraft (excluding home-based carriers and scheduled carriers with historical precedence) will be 90 minutes.
  • Maximum ground time allowed for narrow-body aircraft (excluding home-based carriers and scheduled carriers with historical precedence) will be 60 minutes

Parking Alternates

Universal is working with our preferred handlers in Sharjah (OMSJ) [approximately 1+05 (flight time)] and Kuwait (OKBK) [approximately 1+25 (flight time)], where there is lots of parking, and we’ve negotiated lower rates. Contact your Universal Team for more info.

Many other options in the regions, however Bahrain/OBBI should not be considered due to their relationship with Qatar.


Landing Permits

Landing permits required and need four days’ notice.


Flight Mechanic or Engineer Required

All aircraft arriving in Qatar for the World Cup are required to have a flight Mechanic or Engineer onboard, or they will not be allowed to operate.


Hotels

All hotels in Qatar are blocked and unavailable for standard booking. To book a hotel, you must have a ticket to the World Cup and book through the FIFA World Cup Accommodation Agency. No crew hotel accommodations will be available.


Health entry requirements

  • Fully vaccinated with approved vaccine by MOPH, the crew members MUST present a valid vaccination certificate in Arabic or English,
  • Valid negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival,
  • In case the vaccine is conditionally approved by MOPH, the crew members MUST present a positive serology antibody test upon arrival.
  • Please note that unvaccinated crew members are NOT allowed to enter the country.
  • Passenger requirements vary – see local requirements.

Peak Traffic Days

Peak traffic days include the kickoff day (88,000 passenger arrivals projected); the end of group stages (103,000 passenger departures projected); and after the final match. (88,000 passenger departures projected).


Reduce Stress/Risk by Planning in Advance

  • Communicate with your trip support provider and submit requests ASAP
  • Submit complete passenger list with the status of the main person on board.
  • Slots can differ from what was submitted. Avoid schedule changes once slots are granted.
  • Arrange visas prior to arrival
  • Refrain from ordering fuel or catering for short stops
  • Ask for additional supervision where possible
  • Don’t just know the operating requirements
  • Develop a plan and see the big picture
    • What accommodation is closest to the specific events you will be attending?
    • Will you need security escorts, secure transportation?

Helpful Links


Conclusion

To ensure best possible options during the Qatar World Cup period begin trip planning now. Airport slots should be requested now. As there is no aircraft parking available in Qatar with the exception of a select group of top sponsors, operators should seek alternatives. The best options are in Sharjah and Kuwait. Universal has negotiated special rates with our preferred handlers in these locations and customers should contact their Trip Support Teams for more information. Operators should also keep in mind that no hotels will be available for anyone without a ticket to the tournament, including crew.

 


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