In an interview with MEED on 25 September, Abdul Aziz al-Noaimi, chairman of the committee and of the Civil Aviation Authority, said that the five prequalified consultants would be given one month to prepare bids for the contract, which is due to be awarded before the end of the year.

The committee is planning to build a brand new airport four kilometres east of the existing one. It will have capacity to handle 12 million passengers a year and contain a cargo terminal. ‘The successful consultant will prepare a new masterplan that will be submitted by March 2003,’ Al-Noaimi said. ‘We expect on-site construction to begin from January 2004.’

Given that the committee is targeting for the project to be completed by the Doha Asian Games in December 2006, the scheme will be implemented on a fast-track basis. Al-Noaimi added that some reclamation work would be required for the new runway. Some work is also planned at the existing facility by Qatar Airways, the airport operator. About $20 million will be invested in refurbishing and expanding the arrivals hall.

Plans for a new airport at Doha have been under consideration for more than a decade. The most recent version, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture, was costed at about $650 million. The first two packages on the project were tendered but never awarded (MEED 8:2:02).