Doha's new $15bn airport to open in mid-2014

Steering committee highlights project changes, contract 'challenges'

NEWS, Business

Qatar's new $15.5bn airport will not now open until mid-2014, it has emerged.

Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi, chairman of the Steering Committee of the New Doha International Airport, said the delays were "a result of changes requested during construction to expand the project, as well as challenges we faced regarding some contracts".

The airport, which has since been renamed Halad International Airport, was initially due to open in 2012, and then again in April 2013. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, which will be the main user of the new terminal, had previously blamed fit-out contractor Lindner Depa for delays after terminating the company's contract in 2012. It had a contract to fit-out 17 airport lounges.

Lindner Depa, meanwhile, said that it had been unable to gain access to the site for the first nine months of its 16-month project and filed a $245m (AED900m) claim against New Doha International Airport in September last year.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Al-Noaimi said: "We are on track for a mid-year opening. Through the work of many people, we have overcome the delays, and here today we are witnessing a major achievement of which Qataris will be proud for long years to come.”

He added: “I am proud to confirm today that this project is nearly complete. HIA stands as a ground-breaking accomplishment fusing refined architectural style achieved through state-of-the-art airport and facility construction technology.

”The result is more than an airport; it is an international transport hub satisfying all the requirements of the fast-growing aviation sector in the region."

The steering committee also said the airport will be larger and have more capacity than first envisioned.

It will now have a capacity to handle 30m passengers, and that a future phase to develop an Airport City on the site that was initially due to start in 2015 was already underway. The enlarged site will cover an area of 29km2 - 60% of which is on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf. The passenger terminal has an internal area of 600,000m2, but the space has been reconfigured so that it now features five concourses (as opposed to three) and 65 contact gates (33). Eight of these will be able to handle Airbus A380 planes.

The main contractor responsible for delivering the $15.5bn airport project is Bechtel.

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