New Doha airport renamed Hamad International

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Qatar's New Doha International Airport will be renamed Hamad International Airport when the much delayed hub finally opens in the second half of 2013.

The announcement was made in a statement by Abdul Aziz Al Noaimi, chairman of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and was confirmed by a spokesperson from Qatar Airways, the operator of the airport and main customer.

The US$15.5bn airport missed its most recent scheduled opening date last month and has now been put back to the second half of 2013 as a legal battle ensues between airport authorities and a major contractor.

Airport operator Qatar Airways said in December it plans to file a US$600m legal claim against German-Emirati joint venture construction company Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) after it claimed LDI’s failure to complete the US$250m fit-out of 19 airport lounges by the summer of 2012 had resulted in significant delays to the opening of the project.

LDI accused the carrier of making "false and misleading" comments and the war of words intensified when Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said the joint venture was "adding insult to injury by denying that its delay caused huge damages and that LDI should pay compensation for such damages".

Qatar Airways claimed it and other subsidiaries and entities incurred additional construction costs and losses estimated to amount to some US$600m for lost revenue.

LDI previously said it was currently in arbitration proceedings with the NDIA, with whom it was contracted to work.

Phase one of the new US$15.5bn airport is slated to handle over 28m passengers a year, with the capacity expected to more than double by the time the airport is fully operational in 2018.

The current Doha International Airport handles almost 20m passengers a year, with over 80 per cent of the passenger traffic generated by Qatar Airways alone.

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