AeroExpo e-magazine Inside Doha Airport’s Surprising Cable Car

AeroExpo e-magazine Inside Doha Airport’s Surprising Cable Car

Doha’s Hamad International Airport’s internal concourse train might not look like the ropeway you’re used to seeing in mountains or at theme parks, but this surprisingly efficient airport peoplemover, based on Doppelmayr’s Cable Liner Double Shuttle product, is cable-propelled, at an impressive 45 km/h.


Hamad International Airport’s dual Automatic People Mover (APM) or passenger train is a cable-propelled system which rolls on rubber tires and was manufactured by Doppelmayr Cable Car GmbH & Co KG. The dual APMs are designed to shuttle between the two stations at the airport terminal, one located near concourses A and B and the other located near concourses D and E.

Reducing Travel Time

Ioannis Metsovitis, vice president of operations for the airport explains:

Departing passengers can board the train towards the departure gates on concourses D and E, whereas arriving passengers can board the train towards the arrivals and immigration. This significantly reduces travel time throughout the airport.

Each passenger trip can save nearly half a kilometre of walking, which passengers on long connecting flights may not have the energy levels — or indeed physical ability — to do.

Courtesy of Hamad International Airport

The line is 487 meters long and the track is made of a steel running surface mounted on a concrete superstructure. Each trip between the two stations takes 90 seconds, with a 44 second waiting time at each station. Approximate walking time for the same distance is 9 minutes. The two passenger trains operate simultaneously in a synchronized manner with the train system remaining operational 24 hours a day.

Each passenger train has 5 carriages, with a design capacity of 38 persons per carriage which allows each train to transport up to 190 passengers at a time. The capacity of the trains is measured by factoring in the capacity of the cabins and the headway or transit time of the people mover.

If necessary, both the trains can be extended with an additional carriage each, to take capacity up to 228 passengers. The cable car design also means that the system itself can be extended in length, in the event that the airport executes plans to stretch its terminals.


Another key figure is that the system is entirely automatic, Metsovitis explains:

The train is autonomous, which means once the system is operational, it is fully controlled by a failsafe industrial computing system. However, there is a trained control operator continuously monitoring the system who can intervene and who is required to restart the system whenever there is a deviation from the normal operating conditions. Automatic people movers are statistically among the safest modes of transportation ever used by people.

Similar Doppelmayr Cable Liner solutions are used at airports in Mexico City and Oakland, with Venice’s Tronchetto-Piazzale Roma peoplemover and the Las Vegas MGM CityCenter shuttle also based on the same technology.

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