The opening of the long-awaited new Hamad International airport has been delayed yet again.
The airport was planned to be partially opened on 1 April, with some airlines transferring their operations from the existing airport to the new facility.
However, as preparations for the first flight to land at the airport were being made, Qatar’s civil defence department told airport authorities that the airport had not met newly introduced safety and security requirements.
Qatar’s Civil Aviation authority issued a statement late on 31 March confirming the delay of the opening and stating that a new opening date had not yet been set.
Abdulaziz Al-Noaimi, chairman of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) Steering Committee has said that while he “commends” efforts to raise safety standards in the country, he adds that the airport project had been completed by a number of international contracting companies, which have issued international safety and security certificates.
A source says that the situation is highly “confusing” and that it could take at least another one to two months before a decision has been made regarding a new opening date.
A total of 10 airlines, mainly low-cost airlines such as FlyDubai and Air Arabia, were due to start operating from the new airport’s concourse B from the beginning of April.
Qatar’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, was not planning to move its operations to the new airport until the end of this year.
Hamad International has run into many delays since the project began in 2004 and missed its last deadline to open in December last year. This delay is blamed on the ongoing legal battle between Qatar Airways and the German/UAE joint venture construction firm Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI).
Once the first phase of the new airport is fully operational, it will have capacity for 28 million passengers a year, an increase on the existing airport’s capacity of 4.2 million.