By Francesca Astorri
Civil Defence call off opening of new airport at the last minute over safety concerns
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.
Forcing the premature opening of a massive new airport such as this one leaves egg all over everyone's faces. It happened in Hong Kong, in Bangkok and now Doha. Maybe Qatar has learned a lesson from being brash and making promises it cannot keep. This does not bode well for the soccer, if that ever happens.
I remember such eloquent statements from a Sr. Executive in Qatar who wanted to teach the Germans and Airbus how things are supposed to be done. Who kept on banging his drum when Airbus had issues with the 380, but kept quite when even bigger issues hit the 787's. When he made clear that Qatar's new airport will open on time, even though it was already delayed for a considerable time. Just wondering what he has to say today, with his 787s grounded and his airport still being closed.
The client should tried to listen to their Project manager and their contractors instead of changing design and ignoring commercial and engineering advice.
15billion dollars and 4 years late , over to you Mr Al Baker ?
Serves them right - their arrogance is unbelievable.
Even Emirates had the sense to listen to their advisers and both Terminal 3 and concourse B have been almost flawless successes.
Needless to say its everyone else's fault except that arrogant ego head of a CEO. Fire him before he does more damage!!
If QA is terribly managed and the airport is being project managed by the same ceo, then this is not surprising.
PPL only fly QA because it is cheaper,they compete on price.
PPL only go to QATAR to make money.
PPl only fly QA to save money.
Why pay so much for no returns? wake up and realize.