State-of-the-art maintenance hangars at the new Hamad International Airport in Doha are ready for operation as the facility prepares for its much-awaited opening by the middle of the year.
Capable of housing 13 aircraft simultaneously, including wide-bodied A380s, the hangar covers half-a-kilometre and is believed to have the widest free span door opening in the world, according to Gulf Times.
More than 1000 staff are expected to work at the site, which is equipped for all maintenance requirements and features pop-up floor pits and storage for 350,000 parts.
The $15.5bn airport has been marred by numerous delays and missed opening dates, including the end of 2012, April 1, 2013 and the end of last year.
Steering Committee chairman Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi announced last week the airport would be open by the middle of 2014 and would have greater capacity – 30m passengers - on its opening day than initially envisioned.
"Despite delays, which were a result of changes requested during construction to expand the project, as well as challenges we faced regarding some contracts, we are on track for a mid-year opening," he said.
"The third phase was intended for a 2015 start but we preferred to accelerate the process and integrate all construction phases to complete the entire project in a shortened time.
"Progress on the project continues, with planning for construction of Airport City having started in 2012."
HIA and Airport City span a total of 29 sq km, with 60 percent on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf.
In its opening configuration, the terminal has three concourses and 33 contact gates, increasing to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the A380 in the final build-out.
The terminal also includes 16 lounges, 28 art installations, more than 100 food and beverage and retail outlets, a transit hotel, swimming pool, luxury spa and squash courts. An on-site public mosque will be able to accommodate 500 worshippers.