Visitor access to Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) continues to be restricted, despite the end of the Eid Al Fitr holiday rush.
For more than a week now, security guards have been barring most non-passengers from entering HIA’s Arrivals and Departures terminals.
Those who are catching flights out of Qatar must present boarding passes, plane tickets or their names to officials before they are permitted into the airport.
But people picking up or dropping off travelers are generally not allowed into the building, which has frustrated many visitors.
However, others have lauded the additional security given the regional turmoil.
No end date
HIA has not publicly commented on the new security measure, but a police officer at the airport told Doha News today that the order came from the Ministry of Interior (MOI).
He added that he was unsure how much longer the measure would be in place.
Last year, new security measures outside Qatar’s church complex and at hotels and shopping malls stayed in effect for months.
Even after Eid was over, some venues continued to use metal detectors, while security guards at other locations checked underneath the cars of visitors before they entered underground parking lots.
At the time, Doha News was told those orders also came from the MOI. Most of the measures were eventually phased out by the end of 2015.
No need to wait outside
When asked why visitor access was being restricted at HIA this year, the officer declined to speculate.
However, he said the practice is not new – people used to have to wait outside the old airport during busy times as well.
Though many people going to HIA have complained about having to stand outside in the heat, there is an air-conditioned area near short-term parking where visitors can sit and wait.
However, they would not be able to see their friends and relatives come out of the terminal.