Qatar Airways has hit back at statements by German Emirati joint venture company Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) that it was not responsible for delays to the opening of the New Doha International Airport (NDIA).
After the Doha-based airline announced it was launching a $600m legal action against LDI for "badly defaulting" on a $250m fit-out contract, the joint venture accused the carrier of making "false and misleading" comments.
But the war of words has intensified with Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker saying LDI was "adding insult to injury by denying that its delay caused huge damages and that LDI should pay compensation for such damages".
In a statement he said: “As the main user of the new airport, as the airport operator and as an airline contracting the services of many companies to work at the airport, Qatar Airways has every legal right to pursue compensation claims for the delayed opening of the New Doha International Airport.
“Lindner Depa has seriously defaulted and must take responsibility for their inactions and poor approach to the project that has had a terrible domino effect along the supply chain. This is not the first time that Lindner Depa has defaulted in Qatar using similar excuses.”
LDI had been awarded a $250m contract to build 19 airport lounges, which Al Baker said was terminated due to LDI defaulting, delaying the airport opening by up to 12 months.
Qatar Airways claimed it and other subsidiaries and entities incurred additional construction costs and losses estimated to amount to some $600m for lost revenue.
LDI previously said it was currently in arbitration proceedings with the NDIA, with whom it was contracted to work.
"LDI was denied full access to the project site for the first nine months of the 16-month project. This delay, combined with NDIA’s refusal to pay acceleration costs recommended by its own management consultancy, meant LDI was unable to start all interior contracting work on site as planned. As a result, LDI was unable to meet its original contract completion date," it added.
Phase one of the new $15.5bn airport is slated to handle over 28 million passengers a year, with the capacity expected to more than double by the time the airport is fully operational in 2018.
The current Doha International Airport handles almost 20 million passengers a year, with over 80 per cent of the passenger traffic generated by Qatar Airways alone.