The Qatari government appears to not have made a final decision in terms of the expansion of the Hamad International airport despite having approved the budget for the project.

“High-level discussions on the project are ongoing but the final decision remains unclear,” sources in Qatar tell MEED.

It appears that an alternative plan to expanding the $17bn Hamad International airport is upgrading the old Doha airport by building temporary infrastructure designed to accommodate the expected passenger traffic during the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

“While temporary infrastructure could be more fiscally feasible, I think any future expansion will have to happen in the new airport,” one source tells MEED.

Several contracts related to the expansion of Hamad International, including a multi-storey car park and baggage handling system, have also not yet been awarded. “We have not heard any developments on these contracts so far despite having submitted the bids months ago. Internally we would consider these projects as on hold,” a contractor tells MEED.

Akbar al-Baker, group CEO of Qatar Airways, said in January that the UK’s Foster+Partners is finalising the design details for the expansion of Hamad International airport and that a public tender is expected soon.

The following month, Qatar’s Transport and Communications Minister Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti also announced that contracts for the airport’s expansion are expected to be awarded in the second quarter of 2017.

The old airport has been closed to commercial passenger traffic but is understood to accommodate cargo flights.

Hamad International airport processed more than 37 million passengers in 2016. The airport has a capacity of 30 million passengers a year.

Middle East Airports and Aviation Report

More than $100bn-worth of airport-related projects planned and underway across the MENA region. Track investment opportunities through MEED’s Middle East Airports and Aviation report. The report helps you understand drivers behind the investment in the sector, expansion strategies of regional airlines, airport projects planned and underway, the breakdown of project and trends towards privatisation. Order your copy today