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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Lindner Depa files $250m claim against Hamad International Airport

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A German/Emirati interior design company has launched a lawsuit against Qatar’s Hamad International Airport over the termination of its contract last year.

In a statement released today, Lindner Depa Interior (LDI) said it has filed a $250 million international arbitration claim at a court in France, after failing to reach an agreement with HIA over its June 2012 termination.

Mohannad Sweid, group CEO of Depa Ltd., the Dubai branch of the company, said:

“Our filing today should come as no surprise. We consider the termination of our contract to have been wholly unfounded and the subsequent lack of response by the New Doha International Airport has left Lindner Depa Interiors with no choice but to seek Dh900 million in compensation through international arbitration.”

Reached by Doha News, a spokeswoman for the airport, which was previously called the New Doha International Airport, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, LDI must still contend with a $600 million lawsuit filed by airport operator Qatar Airways said it would file last December, two weeks after the HIA failed to open as planned.

According to that claim, LDI did not complete a $245 million construction of 19 airport lounges, “seriously affecting the airline’s expansion plans, causing huge revenue losses, increased construction costs and delay penalties, and more importantly, inconveniencing passengers.”

LDI has countered that it had not been given access to the project site for the first nine months of a 16-month contract.

UPDATE | 1:18pm

The National reports that LDI does not face such a lawsuit, citing a report from Arabtec, which owns 24 percent of Depa:

According to Arabtec’s latest financial report, its legal advisers have said that as Qatar Airways was not a direct party to the contract it has no grounds for jurisdiction.

In today’s media statement, LDI added:

“The termination of the contract (in June 2012) and the subsequent public comments made against LDI by Mr. Akbar Al Baker, head of the NDIA steering committee and CEO of Qatar Airlines in December 2012 and April 2013 caused significant financial and reputational damage to our company.”

HIA, a $15.5 billion airport project, was originally expected to open in 2009. Two official opening dates have come and gone in the last two years: Dec. 12, 2012 (12/12/12), and April 1, 2013.

The December delay was attributed to LDI, and the April postponement was due to an inability to meet Civil Defense approval, which Al Baker blamed on contractor Bechtel.

Just last week, Qatar Airways confirmed that HIA would be missing yet another opening date – in December 2013 – but did not say why.

LDI’s claim is now with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

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