Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) Steering Committee plans to tender the contract for the expansion of the airport in 2017, with the client aiming for completion as soon as possible.

“The government has approved the budget and the design is being completed… we will undertake a public tender very soon and want to complete the construction as soon as possible,” Akbar al-Baker, group CEO at Qatar Airways and vice-chairman of the HIA Steering Committee, said.

Al-Baker said the airport processed more than 36 million passengers in 2016,  well in excess of the airport’s current design capacity of 30 million passengers annually.

The plans involve expanding the airport capacity to 60 million passengers a year, Al-Baker told MEED.

It is understood that the expansion plans for the airport comprises three main elements: the extension of the main terminal building; the construction of concourse D and E; and the connection with the Red Line of the Doha Metro.

The main terminal expansion will feature a new premium check-in area comprising 17 new counters, which will be served by a new access road and kerbside drop-off point to the east of the main terminal building. To the west, 47 new economy check-in counters will be built in addition to new baggage carousels

The planned expansion is expected to take the airport’s capacity from the current 30 million passengers a year to 60 million by 2021. The airport opened in 2014, some six years behind schedule.