Qatar unprepared for World Cup air traffic crush, report says
Air traffic at the World Cup in Qatar is likely to be “impossible” even with modern air traffic control technology, according to a government report.
The report said Qatar would still have to rely on a combination of radar, optical detection and other measures to prevent traffic jams from reaching the hundreds of thousands set to attend the tournament.
Airlines and governments have warned they would be unable to meet demand for flights if the tournament was delayed.
A report by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said the biggest concern for air traffic control was the amount of time it needed to process the huge number of entrants and the uncertainty over how many flights would be made available to meet demand.
“ICAO is in favour of a delayed tournament as long as the number of participants in Qatar are appropriately managed and as long as the event will not compromise safety or negatively impact the national economy,” the report by its Qatar-based regional director, Dr. Nabil al-Otaibi, read.
But the report added: “ICAO is not in favour of cancellation of the World Cup as long as it allows airlines to fulfill their commitments.”
ICAO was due to discuss the report on Friday but did not issue a formal response.
The ICAO’s role is to ensure international civilian air navigation rules, including the World Cup, are carried out in the safest and most efficient manner, according to the organisation.
Qatar had originally planned to host up to 72,000 fans in an annual event, but has had to revise its plans after finding that it would need more than 170,000 spaces in existing hotels and temporary venues and would not be able to use all planned infrastructure.
The World Cup is a rare event in football – especially a tournament that only happens once every four years – and is seen as one of the prime opportunities for nations to promote their brand as the World Cup brings together nations with differing national cultures.