Qatar unprepared for World Cup air traffic crush, report says
Qatar’s preparations for the World Cup air transport were ‘weak and insufficient’, according to a report by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The World Bank confirmed the report’s authenticity and its content, but declined to release further details, citing client confidentiality.
The IFC report, which covered the country’s preparations for all aspects of the competition, is based on meetings with government officials, business representatives, industry experts, air traffic experts, and other stakeholders from Qatar and Qatar Airways.
“Qatar was unprepared for a World Cup air transport crush,” the report stated. “Even in view of the limited capacity of the country’s transport system, which cannot adequately handle the expected surge in passenger traffic, the government should have taken more serious action to mitigate the situation.”
The IFC report said the government should have taken steps to ensure the capacity would not be inadequate for the needs of a World Cup in the air.
Qatar is preparing to host the 2018 Fifa World Cup in an air transport hub in Doha.
The country has faced intense criticism from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for its delayed preparations to host the football extravaganza.
The World Bank report came only two days after ICAO chief and Qatar’s former prime minister Saad al-Attiyah resigned for “not doing his job for the citizens of Qatar”.
IFC chief and governor of Qatar’s International Development Association Abdulla Saad said: “We are concerned that, in light of the ICAO concerns, the government of Qatar failed on both the readiness and preparation front.
“We urge Qatar to take immediate action to ensure its government is capable of sustaining the World Cup air transport event.”
Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Hamad al-Khalifa tweeted that the report “gives cause for alarm”.
“The IFC has repeatedly raised concerns with the government