By Staff writer
EMEA president says much-delayed international airport in Doha 'will be ready any time'
Bechtel’s EMEA president, David Welch, has said that the contractor’s work at the delayed $15.5bn Hamad International Airport in Doha 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 airport operator Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar 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.
Meanwhile, in Oman, Bechtel is working to catch up on the structural steel element of the $1.7bn Muscat International Airport project, which suffered a delay when a Turkish ship carrying 5,000 tonnes of steel to the site sank in April.
"That put some portion of the structural steel on the project behind schedule but that's rapidly catching up because we have two of the biggest cranes in the world that are going to be operating there to put that on the roof.
"These are massive things. I think the second one comes in October, so by the end of the year, most of that should be in place. So it's looking good."For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
I have personally work with Bechtel, not for them, many times over the past 30 years, as the client. We had loads of battles and differences, but they always delivered, with compassion and humour. What more can I say apart from I'm looking forward to meeting up with them again in the future (if I'm still around and active).