Masterplan under way for new Doha airport

26 September 2003
Plans for the new Doha International Airport (NDIA) project are taking shape, with the appointment of the US' Bechtel to carry out the masterplan for the estimated $1,000 million project. 'Bechtel is doing the masterplan and we [the NDIA committee] are now negotiating the design and project management contract with them,' Akbar al-Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways and an NDIA committee member confirmed to MEED on 22 September. 'Without the development of the airport, Qatar Airways will not be able to grow.' Qatar Airways, which now manages the existing airport, underlined its growth ambitions in June, when it signed a $5,100 million agreement to purchase 32 Airbus aircraft in a deal that will see its fleet increase to 52 by 2008 (MEED 20:6:03).

The masterplan, which is due to be completed by the end of October, will set out the long-term development of the new facility. 'You need a masterplan that will last you for 50 years and that will allow you to grow,' Al-Baker said. 'The initial capacity of the new airport will be 12 million passengers a year, but capacity could be raised up to 50 million passengers a year in phases.'

Al-Baker confirmed that the new airport, to be built largely on reclaimed land east of the existing facility, will not be ready until 2008, two years later than originally planned. As a result of the delay and the need to meet the forecast rise in Qatar Airways' traffic, a $200 million upgrade and expansion of the existing airport is being carried out, which will see capacity rise to 7.5 million passengers a year by 2006 from the existing 4.2 million. In the latest stage of the investment programme, over QR 140 million ($38 million) is to be spent on expanding the apron and terminal space.

Once the new airport is completed, the plan is to close the existing one. 'The whole area will come into urban planning. We have 42 square kilometres in a prime real estate location,' Al-Baker said.

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