The much-delayed New Doha International Airport will be renamed Hamad International airport when it finally opens, according to the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority.
However, the opening of the airport has been delayed until the second half of 2013, missing its previous deadline to open in December last year.
The current delay is due to an ongoing legal battle between Qatar Airways and the German/UAE joint venture construction firm Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI).
LDI is accused of failing to complete the construction of 19 airport lounges by summer 2012, as demanded under its $250m-plus contract. Qatar Airways issued a lawsuit against the company at the end of last year for causing the airport project to be delayed.
Although the airport is not expected to be fully operational by the second half of 2013, the chief executive officer of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker, has said that the airport could be open by early April for airlines and passengers that do not need to use the unfinished lounge areas.
The New Doha airport has been blighted by a string of delays and contract cancellations since its launch in 2004. In 2008, its schedule was pushed back by two years, bringing its target completion date to 2011. In 2010, China State Construction Engineering Corporation saw its building contract for the airport terminated. The deal had covered the construction of 20 buildings, including a general aviation terminal and hangar.
Once phase one of the project is completed, the facility will provide capacity for 28 million passengers a year, a significant increase on the existing airport’s capacity of 4.2 million.