Qatar's government will levy a new airport tax on passengers from Tuesday, according to a circular to travel agents, as the country seeks new revenue streams amid falling oil prices.
Every passenger leaving Qatar from Doha's Hamad International Airport, including transit passengers, will be charged 35 riyals ($9.61) for using airport facilities, Qatar Airways advised local travel agents in the circular seen by Reuters. The circular said the charge would apply to tickets issued after Aug. 30 and for any travel starting Dec. 1 onwards. Airport fees, while common elsewhere in the world, have until recently been avoided by Gulf states as they seek to gain a competitive advantage for business and become regional hubs.
Some 1.33 million passengers travelled through Hamad International Airport in June. Airports in the United Arab Emirates announced similar taxes earlier this year. Interest rates are rising in the Gulf as low oil prices pressure governments' finances, so Qatar has been looking at ways other than borrowing to fund its projects, including raising local gasoline prices. Qatar has said it expects to post a deficit of 46.5 billion riyals ($12.8 billion) in 2016, its first in 15 years, and to run a deficit for at least three years as low natural gas and oil prices weigh on its revenues as it prepares to host the football World Cup in 2022.