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Sat 15 May 2004 04:00 AM

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Doha International Airport first phase work due soon

$2.5 billion first phase work is set to start next month according to US construction giant Bechtel with pre-qualification set to follow soon after

The US $2.5 billion first phase work on the new Doha International Airport will begin next month, according to US construction giant Bechtel. This will see the start of pre-qualification for the first construction contract according to a Bechtel official.

The first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed in 2008, will create a new airport with a passenger capacity of 12 million a year. Bechtel was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction and management contract for the new Doha International Airport at the beginning of this year after completing the master plan last year.

“The pre-qualifications for the first construction contracts start next month and the first construction package will be tendered in summer this year,” said Sabah Barakat, overseas vice-president, Bechtel.

“Ultimately, after completion of the third phase, the airport will handle 50 million passengers a year. Qatar is putting in place a massive tourism plan which will see a high inflow of leisure tourists and corporate travelers,” he added.

The masterplan breaks the project into three phases with the first phase, which has just begun, set to see construction of two runways and a 140 000 m2 airport terminal.

When phase two is completed the airport will be able to handle 24 million passengers a year and will add an extra 80 000 m2 to the terminal. The airport terminal size will increase to nearly 420 000 m2 on completion of phase three, taking passenger handlin capacity to 50 million a year.

“The reclamation works will be part of the first package,” said Barakat. “There could be around 20 packages in all, covering the different phases.”

The new airport will be on reclaimed land adjacent to the existing airport and is forecast to become one of the leading airports in the region. Qatar Airways chief executive and Qatar Tourism Authority chairman, Akbar Al Baker said a high-level committee has been set up to oversee the new airport’s development.

“The committee has a timetable and the plan has begun well,” he said.

After unveiling the new airport’s design for the first time, he added: “The airport’s development will be in line with the fleet expansion of Qatar Airways and the ambitious tourism plan of Qatar.”

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