Hamad Internationa Airport to open early next year

Hamad International Airport will be officially opened early next year and will have an initial capacity of 29m passengers, according to Qatar’s Minister of Transport.

The Peninsula reported that Minister HE Jassim Seif Al Sulaiti said that once the airport, which has cost $15.5bn to build, is fully operational, it will be able to handle around 50m passengers a year.

The minister was speaking at a specialist seminar aimed at drivers and freight operators who need to secure.Certificates of Professional Competence in order to be able to drive larger trucks weighing more than 3.5 tonnes or minibuses and coaches licensed to carry more than nine people.

According to the minister, the country’s current fleet of 3,000 buses and 2,500 taxis is set to double by 2018.

Hamad International Airport – previously known as New Doha International Airport – has missed a series of proposed opening dates.

It was initially supposed to open three years ago but has missed a series of other targets since – the most recent of which was an opening date of April 1 this year, which was reportedly as a result of issues related to commissioning and the airport meeting the latest fire codes.

The airport will be operated by Qatar Airways, whose CEO Akbar Al Baker has been critical of a number of contractors for their performance on the project.

It cancelled a $250m contract with fit-out company Lindner Depa Interiors last year, blaming the joint venture partners who were fitting out 17 airport lounges for causing knock-on delays to the project.

Depa has denied that it was at fault, stating that it had been denied access to the lounges for the first nine months of a 16 month project.

The company filed a $250m claim against the airport in September this year over the termination of its contract.

Meanwhile, main contractor Bechtel recently told Construction Week that the airport is “virtually complete”.

The company’s EMEA president David Welch said in September that the job is “going through the certification process with the authorities”.

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