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LDI rebuts Qatar Airways claims for NDIA delay

German-Emirati JV seeks legal counsel for damage to its reputation

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker.

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Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) has rebutted claims by Qatar Airways that it is responsible for major delays to the opening of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) project.

Qatar Airways said on Saturday it would file a $600m legal claim against LDI for causing a significant delay to the opening of the NDIA by up to a year.

It alleged that LDI had undertaken to complete the construction of 19 airport lounges by the summer of 2012 in a contract worth over $250m, but had failed to complete the project on time. The $15.5bn airport was due to open this month, but this has now been delayed to H2 2013.

Qatar Airways, set to be the airport operator, claimed LDI had "badly defaulted", with the delayed airport opening seriously affecting the airline’s expansion plans, causing huge revenue losses, increased construction costs and delay penalties, and more importantly, inconveniencing passengers.

A statement on the Depa Limited website said: “LDI acknowledges Qatar Airways’ statement as a false and misleading representation of the facts around the NDIA project.”

It added further: “LDI is deeply disappointed by the allegations made by Qatar Airways and rebuts all claims. Furthermore, LDI has never had a contract or relationship with Qatar Airways, nor has it received any legal claim from the airline.”

The statement revealed that “LDI is currently in arbitration proceedings with the NDIA, with whom it was contracted to work. LDI was denied full access to the project site for the first nine months of the 16-month project.

“This delay, combined with NDIA’s refusal to pay acceleration costs recommended by its own management consultancy, meant LDI was unable to start all interior contracting work on-site as planned. As a result, LDI was unable to meet its original contract completion date,” read the statement.

LDI has been operating since 2007 as a JV between the German-based Lindner group and the UAE-based Depa Limited, completing infrastructure projects such as Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport and stations of both lines of the Dubai Metro.

Lindner was founded in 1965 and has completed high-profile airport projects such as London Heathrow’s Terminal 5, Hong Kong Airport, Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 1, Shanghai Pudong Airport and Barcelona Airport’s new Terminal 1.

Depa, one of the largest interior contacting companies in the world, has also successfully carried out large and complex projects in over 20 countries, including Emirates Airline First and Business Class lounges at Dubai Airport, Mumbai's new international airport, the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Grand Hyatt in Malaysia, Baku Flame in Azerbaijan and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

The statement from Depa Limited concluded: “LDI is seeking legal counsel as a result of the damage caused to its reputation based on the false and misleading information made in the Qatar Airways statement.”

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Construction Week - Issue 725
Jan 19, 2019