New delay for Doha’s Hamad International Airport

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker says long awaited hub will open “early next year”

The launch of the long-awaited Hamad International Airport, the planned $15.5bn hub for Qatar Airways, has been delayed yet again.

The airport was originally supposed to open three years ago, but has missed a series of launch dates, including April 1 this year.

After missing that target, due to the fact that the project had missed newly introduced safety requirements, the airport’s launch was pushed back to the end of 2013.

However, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker announced in a press conference in China on Wednesday that Hamad International Airport would now begin operating early next year, according to the Peninsula newspaper.

No further reasons as to the further delay or a specific launch date were given. An official from Qatar Airways was not immediately available for comment.

The slow completion of the airport has led to a series of fractious comments from Al Baker as to the performance of the on-site contractors.

After the April delay, the CEO blamed US contractor Bechtel, saying that the firm had been “complacent” in meeting regulatory requirements laid down by the airline and the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority.

In December last year, Qatar Airways said it would file a $600m legal claim against German-Emirati joint-venture contractor Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) for allegedly delaying HIA by up to a year.

The Gulf carrier said in a statement that LDI had undertaken to complete the construction of 19 airport lounges by the summer of 2012 in a contract worth over $250m, but failed to complete the project on time.

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.

At the time, LDI said it was "deeply disappointed" by the allegations made by Qatar Airways and rebutted all claims.

"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," it added.

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Posted by: James Bishop

For those interested in visiting the new terminal, there are tours available as part of the ACI Airport Exchange event, taking place in November in Qatar.

Al Baker, along with several of his colleagues at Qatar Airlines and DIA will be speaking at the event about their approach to the project.

Posted by: Nils Ericsson

I stopped flying Qatar Airways after this ill planned project.

Posted by: justsayin

who are you representing James?

wow that could be fun.

Posted by: Pete Savarian

The seemingly all powerful Al Baker has run out of contractors to use as scapegoats and blame for the delay.

Posted by: Carlo Marelli

Now: always the Client's fault right? The so called "moron" are the ones paying for the consultancy and construction services. The "moron" rely on such services (if they had the skills than they wouldn't have to correct?) thus if these major EPCs - EPCMs etc... company's - such as Bechtel - do not know how to properly and correctly consult and advise (and always being obscure just to get a tender awarded, just to blame it on the Client later) why is it still the Client's fault?

Posted by: Richard

They seem to consult and advise just fine in every other country. Maybe they are all just having a bad day and Al Baker is just an unlucky and misunderstood genius.

Posted by: Non-Muslim

@ Carlo Marelli
Not working in the costruction business, I still have to disagree with you.
Normal procedure (as e.g. in der Berlin case, and I must assume this is also valid for the Doha case) is a tender, a winner, and a contract based on the tender. But then the client starts asking for this change, for that change, for this gimmick, for a displaced entrance, for this and that and more. An then (e.g. Berlin) the "owner" makes a strategic change with a displaced gate (suitable for A380) and the whole floor plan changes, not only for the gate space, but also for the shops around, the restrooms, the escalators, the fire suppression system - just about everything needs to be replanned, torn down, and built up again. Lots of known and proven such stories at Berlin (BER), frankly spoken out by the architect who was blamed for his "incompetence" in building a greenfield airport - although he was awarded the contract BECAUSE of his proven record of successfully building greenfield airport.

Posted by: JSS

Well, they're still doing way better than Berlin's long awaited new airport, which is built, finished and "almost" ready to go, but delayed for years to come for about 75000 security issues, which need to be fixed.

Posted by: aslam

You have summarized it well. Myself Being in construction industry we have to deal with moron clients who in their life have not executed even one project.

Posted by: BlueEyesGuy

Strongly agree!!!

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