Date established: 2002

Main business sector: Aviation

Chairman: Abdulaziz Mohammad al-Noaimi

Tel: (+974) 4 010 6666

Web: www.ndiaproject.com

Qatar needs to increase its airport capacity to help receive materials for its infrastructure programme ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, and to welcome visitors when the tournament begins. The New Doha International airport Steering Committee was set up in 2002 to plan, implement and oversee the construction of what was then called New Doha International airport (NDIA). The steering committee is headed by Abdulaziz Mohammad al-Noaimi, who is also chairman of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority. The steering committee’s tasks include managing the design and procurement of the airport.

At the peak of airport construction, the steering committee had more than 150 employees, overseeing more than 1,000 project managers. The airport project had a total workforce of more than 50,000 people.

After a series of delays, the airport – now called Hamad International airport (HIA) – is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2014. Once HIA is completed and operational, the steering committee will continue to work on the project’s expansion and on the adjacent Airport City free zone.

HIA will have an 85-metre-high control tower and two of the longest runways in the world. The eastern runway, at 4.8 kilometres, will be the longest commercial runway at sea level, and the western runway is 4.2km. At 60 metres wide, both are designed for the Airbus A380 super jumbo, due to enter state carrier Qatar Airways’ fleet in June.

A 69,000-square-metre, four-storey catering facility will be one of the largest in the world, able to produce 90,000 meals a day, and the airport’s maintenance facilities will feature the world’s largest free-span door opening. Two driverless trains will transport up to 6,000 people an hour between sections of the terminal at up to 45km an hour. An Emiri terminal, for the use of the ruler, his family and guests, is also being built and is designed to look like the sails of dhows.

When a phased opening was planned last year, about 10 airlines were initially to use the airport – primarily low-cost carriers such as the UAE’s Flydubai and Air Arabia. Qatar Airways would later move the bulk of its operations to the new airport. With the mid-2014 opening date, it has not yet been decided whether the opening will be partial, or a grand opening with the approximately 30 airlines that currently use the existing Doha International airport shifting to the new facility.

Next to HIA is Airport City, a 10-square-kilometre development that has been masterplanned by Dutch architecture firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and will eventually accommodate 200,000 people. According to OMA, phase 1 of the 30-year plan will be “mostly complete” in time for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

This part of the development will include airside and landside facilities for business logistics, retail outlets, hotels and residences. The masterplan and one major building – the headquarters of Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority, designed by the UK’s Grimshaw Architects – have been approved so far.

Hamad International airport

Estimated value $17.5bn

HIA and the next door Airport City span 29 sq km, 60 per cent of which is on reclaimed land. The project includes more than 100 buildings.

The passenger terminal will open with an internal area of 600,000 sq m. It will have three concourses and 33 gates. The terminal includes 16 lounges, more than 100 food and beverage outlets, a hotel, a swimming pool, a spa and squash courts. The airport’s public mosque will have capacity for 500 worshipers.

Construction also included 44km of surrounding road infrastructure, including 21 bridges and five tunnels.

HIA will open with capacity for 30 million passengers and 1.4 million tonnes of freight. The existing Doha International airport sees only 4.2 million passengers a year and handled about 866,000 tonnes of cargo in 2013.

A further expansion is then planned to bring HIA’s passenger capacity to 50 million and to double its cargo capacity. Two new concourses will be added to the terminal in time for the Fifa World Cup. Apron capacity will be expanded to meet Fifa-mandated requirements for the number of aircraft that can be parked. A new terminal will also be built. Architects have not yet been appointed.

HIA, initially called New Doha International airport, has faced various delays since the project was started in 2003.

A 2011 completion date was shifted to 12 December 2012, but this deadline was also missed amid legal wranglings with contractors.

A soft opening was planned for 1 April 2013, but was postponed the night before because Qatar’s civil defence department said the airport did not meet new safety and security requirements. Most recently, at a press conference in January 2014, Al-Noaimi said the airport was now on track for a phased opening by the end of the second quarter of this year.

The final works on lounges are currently being carried out. The missed December opening had been blamed on German/UAE joint-venture construction firm Lindner Depa Interiors, which Qatar Airways said had failed to complete fit-out of 19 airport lounges by the summer of 2012, as demanded under its $250m contract. The lounges are now being fitted out by Italy’s Permasteelisa. Design is by Antonio Citterio & Partners, also of Italy.