Doha unveils airport expansion plans

16 September 2015

Budget of $8bn for Hamad International airport project

  • Project includes main terminal extension, addition of concourse D and E, link to Doha Metro Red Line
  • Completed terminal will be more than 1 million square metres
  • Annual capacity will increase from 30 to 53 million passengers a year

The New Doha International Airport (NDIA) Steering Committee has for the first time publicly unveiled plans for the expansion of Hamad International airport (HIA).

Speaking at MEED’s Qatar Transport Forum in Doha on 16 September, NDIA project director Peter Daley revealed the project plan along with the timeline for the procurement process.

The expansion comprises three main elements: the extension of the main terminal building; the construction of concourse D and E; and the connection with the Red Line of the Doha Metro

The main terminal expansion will feature a new premium check-in area comprising 17 new counters, which will be served by a new access road and kerbside drop-off point to the east of the main terminal building. To the west, 47 new economy check-in counters will be built in addition to new baggage carousels.

“The current preferred option is to extend and replicate the existing design [done by the UK’s Foster+Partners],” said Daley.

The new D and E concourse will increase the size of the overall airport terminal by 400,000 square metres to more than 1 million sq m. The plan calls for a 1.3-kilometre-long concourse with a width of 60 metres. As with the existing building, the new concourse will feature terrazzo floors and timber ceilings. The steel work will be reconfigured to use lighter sections, allowing greater natural light to enter the space.

A passenger amenity area in the north side of the concourse will have a 45,000-sq-m internal garden as well as an additional 26,300 sq m of lounge space for Qatar Airways’ Gold and Silver Privilege Club members. There will also be 18,000 sq m of retail and food and beverage space.

“When completed the D and E concourse will form the new heart of the airport, with 60 per cent of passengers served there,” said Daley. “It will support the increase in the airport’s overall capacity to 53 million passengers a year, and increase the number of contact gates to 61 and remote gates to 14.”

Plans for the metro connection are less developed as the steering committee works with Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) to finalise design plans. It is likely the scheme will involve a connecting bridge between the existing mosque and lagoon from the terminal building to an underground station.

An award on the project management consultancy contract for the expansion is due soon, according to sources in Qatar, with two or three of the bidding consultants believed to be left in the race. Tenders for the main construction packages are expected to be issued in the second quarter of 2016, say contracting sources in the state.

In addition to the main expansion project, the NDIA Steering Committee is in the process of tendering or awarding several more immediate projects. Daley said tenders for the construction of the North Node expansion and hotel are due to be opened this week. The project will add 130,000 sq m of space in addition to 5,400 sq m of lounge space and eight contact gates.

Also scheduled for this week will be an award on the land reclamation package for the area between the western runway and the naval base. A second land reclamation package covering the northern triangle is being considered.

The reclamation work is part of the western airfield expansion, which is aimed at providing operating space to HIA during work on the terminal expansion. The expansion covers tunnel connectivity to the western airfield from the main terminal, a new dual taxiway system, 32 aircraft positioning areas, an additional central utility plant, a fire training facility and expanded fuel facilities. It will require about 800,000 cubic metres of bulk excavation.

A tender should be issued by the end of the year for the construction of the Emiri hangar expansion. Located to the north of existing maintenance facilities, the new hangar will be 395 metres long and have a capacity for 13 aircraft. The US’ Foster+Partners is the design consultant.

The overall HIA expansion is being driven by increasing numbers of passengers and the Fifa World Cup that Qatar will host in 2022. “In 2014, Qatar Airways reported a 22 per cent increase in traffic, and is forecasting 10 per cent growth in 2015,” said Daley. “It has 330 aircraft in order, and there is also growth in cargo volumes and from other airline traffic. Based on our latest information, peak daily passenger numbers during the World Cup will be a minimum of 86,000, requiring 142 medium-body aircraft stands.”

On the original grassroots construction of HIA, the NDIA Steering Committee awarded some 350 contracts. A total of 50,000 workers worked on the project, which covers an area of 22 square kilometres, 44km of road, 100 buildings, 21 road bridges, five tunnels, four central utility plants and a 290,000-sq-m lagoon.

The total cost of the project was $15.5bn, far in excess of its original budget. Even now, a year after its opening, some sections of the airport are still being completed. The long awaited Qatar Airways first class lounge is due to open shortly. 

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