Qatar’s delayed Hamad International Airport (HIA ) is scheduled for a phased opening by mid-2014, a senior official confirmed.
Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi, chairman of The Steering Committee of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) confirmed the news during a press conference held at the HIA passenger terminal. However, no specific dates were mentioned.
The $15 billion beleaguered new airport has faced a several-year delay,  with a big launch finally slated for April 2013. However, it was cancelled at the last minute.Al Noaimi said: “Despite delays, which were a result of changes requested during construction to expand the project, as well as challenges we faced regarding some contracts, we are on track for a mid-year opening.
“Through the work of many people, we have overcome the delays, and here today we are witnessing a major achievement of which Qataris will be proud for long years to come.”He added: “The opening of Hamad International Airport  in the middle of this year will bring to fruition the vision of Qatar’s leadership, to build a world-class airport supporting the state’s development and prosperity.”
HIA will open with a capacity of 30 million – larger than initially planned due to increased transit growth in Qatar and the region, he said.“The third phase was intended for a 2015 start but we preferred to accelerate the process and integrate all construction phases to complete the entire project in a shortened time. Progress on the project continues, with planning for construction of Airport City having started in 2012.”
HIA and Airport City span 29 square kilometers, 60 per cent on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf. The facility’s airplane maintenance hangers feature the world’s widest free span door opening in the world, and the four-story catering division, spread over 69,000 square meters, has the capacity of 90,000 meals per day.
The passenger terminal is spread over an internal area of 600,000 square meters and has three concourses and 33 contact gates – which will increase to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the A380 in the final build-out.
The terminal also includes 16 lounges for various categories of passengers, 28 art installations by local, regional and international artists, over 100 F&B and retail outlets, a transit hotel, a swimming pool, a spa and squash courts.More than 1,000 architects, designers, engineering consultants, and project managers worked on the project, through more than 200 local, regional and international contractors and service contracts.
“I am proud to confirm today that this project is nearly complete. HIA stands as a ground-breaking accomplishment fusing refined architectural style achieved through state-of-the-art airport and facility construction technology,” said Al Noaimi.“The result is more than an airport; it is an international transport hub satisfying all the requirements of the fast-growing aviation sector in the region. This is needed in light of the growing traffic through and into the region, driven by world-scale events planned in the next decade.”