The much-delayed Hamad International Airport has begun commercial operation, with the first passengers arriving on 30 April.

A Fly Dubai flight from Dubai landed at around midday on 30 April, marking the first commercial passenger plane arrival at the new airport.  

The opening of the $17.5bn airport, previously known as New Doha International, has been met with significant delays, after initially aiming for a 2008 launch.

An ongoing legal battle with German/UAE joint venture firm Lindner Depa Interiors contributed to the delays. The company issued a lawsuit against the airport in September 2013, after its contract for the construction of 19 lounges was pulled.

The new airport marks one of Qatar’s first megaprojects as the country ramps up its infrastructure capacity. The country is expected to invest $165bn on new projects over the next four years.

The new airport will initially cater to 30 million passengers a year, a 30.4 per cent increase on Doha International’s capacity of 23 million.