New Qatar airport opening in 11th hour delay

Civil Defence call off opening of new airport at the last minute over safety concerns
By Francesca Astorri
Mon 01 Apr 2013 09:47 AM

The opening of Qatar's new Hamad International Airport (HIA) has faced another last-minute delay, this time for not meeting new safety standards set by Civil Defence.

In a late-night announcement Abdulaziz Al Noaimi, the Chairman of the New Doha International Airport's (NDIA) Steering Committee said they were forced to put off the April 1 inauguration as the airport did not meet the newly introduced safety and security requirements mandated by the Civil Defence Department, local media reported.

“The NDIA Steering Committee commends the efforts of the Ministry of Interior represented by the Department of Civil Defence for their commitment to raising standards of safety and security in Qatar,” the statement said.

The new airport was scheduled to open on Monday at 12:20 with a first inaugural Qatar Airways flight, which has now been cancelled. Some ten airlines were supposed to be flying out of HIA, from day one, although these were mostly budget carriers that did not require use of the hub's as-yet unfinished lounge facilities.

The opening of the airport could be delayed for two weeks.

Doha's new airport was originally scheduled to open three years ago, but has faced numerous delays as a result of disputes with the contractors. Flights from HIA were set to begin on 12 December 2012, before being postponed to the most recent date of April 1.

A spokesman for Qatar Airways, which operates the new airport, did not answer the phone when contacted by Arabian Business.

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