Qatar’s new state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport (HIA) will open to all airlines, including the country’s national carrier, at the end of May, according to a circular issued by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).
A Doha International Airport spokesperson confirmed the information to Doha News this afternoon. The circular was issued shortly after the QCAA set a soft launch date of April 30 for 10 budget carriers.
The new memo states that as of 9am on May 27, “all airlines shall entirely move to Hamad International Airport.”
Thus far, no public statement has been made about either the soft launch or the full opening by any of the airport’s main players.
When contacted by Doha News this afternoon, Patrick Muller, DIA Executive Vice-President, said that he was unable to comment.
Similarly, a spokeswoman for the HIA steering committee said she could not confirm when the airport would open. And Qatar Airways, the airport operator, was unavailable for comment.
Additionally, while the Federal Aviation Authority’s website contains a notice about the April 30 launch (and the opening of only one runway), there is no mention yet of flights flying out on May 27.
The long-awaited move to HIA means that Qatar Airways’ first three A380s – which are due to arrive in June, more than six months behind schedule – would be able to operate out of an airport with facilities designed to accommodate the double-decker aircraft.
The $15.5 billion airport was supposed to be completed in 2009, and has missed several opening deadlines since then, including on Dec. 12, 2012 (12/12/12) and April 1, 2013, when the launch was scrapped an hour before a plane was set to land there.
The exact reason for the delays remains unclear, though last year, Civil Defense safety approvals were not met. More recently, officials have suggested that the airport’s premium facilities and lounges were awaiting completion.
Meanwhile, DIA has been struggling to accommodate an ever-growing passenger load. Some 2 million people have been traveling through the airport each month, straining services such as parking facilities and passport control.