Qatar offers official tours of delayed new airport

Delegates at airport conference in November will be given behind scenes look at terminal complex
By Shane McGinley
Sun 20 Oct 2013 01:47 PM

Delegates attending the Airport Council International (ACI) event in Doha in November will be given a free tour of facilities at the much delayed $15.5bn Hamad International Airport, which is reportedly set to finally be opened in 2014.

“Airports on the Qatar Airways global network now have a chance to see Doha’s new Hamad International Airport and acquire vital ‘product knowledge’ ahead if its opening,” according to a statement on the official ACI Airport Exchange 2013 website.

Seven different specialist tours will be offered of the 590,000 square metre passenger terminal complex, focusing on areas such as technology, security, baggage handling, retail and passenger experience and airside operations.

The tours will be “particularly important to airports looking to maximise the route performance (and retention) of the increasing number of new Qatar Airways services linking 128 airports to the rest of the world through Doha,” the statement said.

Akbar Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways and Doha International Airport, will be giving the keynote speech at the event, which takes place from November 11 to 13.

Last month Bechtel’s EMEA president, David Welch, claimed the contractor’s work at Hamad International Airport is “virtually complete”.

The project was initially due to open three years ago, but has missed a series of opening dates, with the most recent being April 1 this year.

Recent reports have quoted Al Baker as stating that the airport will not begin operations until 2014.

Speaking to Construction Week, Welch said: “It’s going through the certification process with the authorities. The start-up teams are operating, the contractors working on our portion of the scope are finishing up their punch lists very rapidly.

"The client would need to decide when they want to open it but it will be ready any time they wish to do that.”

Al Baker has pointed the finger at contractors working on the job as contributing to delays. Last year, he threatened to bring a lawsuit against Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI), whose $250m contract to fit-out 17 airport lounges was cancelled. Depa responded last week by filing a $250m claim against the airport.

After the April 1 deadline was missed, Al Baker also said Bechtel had been “complacent” in meeting regulatory requirements.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.