The opening of the New Doha International Airport to passenger traffic has officially been delayed until the the second half of next year, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told the Moodie Report in a recent interview.
This is in direct contrast to comments he made in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, recorded in December 2011 and broadcast in January this year.
“I will keep my fingers crossed to have it open by the 12th of December 2012”, he said.
And later in the interview:
“His Highness has a very clear vision – and a lot of a**es will be kicked to achieve that.”
Sources close to the project had already indicated to Doha News that a delay in the airport’s opening was likely.
The airport will still open some facilities, including cargo, the VIP terminal and QA’s maintenance base as planned on Dec. 12 of this year (12/12/12), the Moodie Report states.
Al Baker, who is in charge of the development of the airport, attributed the new delay to the parting of ways between QA and one of the project’s key contractors. (UPDATE: Hotelier Middle East identified the recent termination of Lindner Depa’s $245 million contract as the cause).
The Moodie Report, which took a peek around the new airport earlier this month, states:
“We want a world-class facility,” (Al Baker) said. “We will not compromise on quality. We will not compromise on standards. I think when you put everything together, there will be no other airport of such a high standard… including the high level of finishing and the high quality of materials that have been used.”
The NDIA’s opening has already been delayed by three years, in part due to the aggressive growth of Qatar Airways, which has increased the cost of the $15.5 billion structure by another $2 billion.
Phase One of the airport was slated to handle some 24 million passengers a year, with that capacity expected to more than double by the time the airport is fully operational in 2018.
So it looks like Dec. 12 is going to be more a symbolic opening than anything else.
Credit: Photo courtesy of NDIA