Doha's delayed Hamad Int'l to open by mid-2014
$15.5bn Qatar Airways hub has already missed a series of launch dates
The delayed Hamad International Airport is on track for a phased opening by the middle of 2014, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Abdul Aziz Mohammad Al-Noaimi, chairman of The Steering Committee of the New Doha International Airport, announced the date at a press conference held in the new passenger terminal.
He said: "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.
"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."
The $15.5bn planned hub for Qatar Airways has missed a series of launch dates, including the end of 2012, April 1 2013 and the end of last year.
He added: "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."
He said HIA will be larger and have greater capacity on its opening day than initially envisioned.
Due to increased transit growth in Qatar and the region in the past few years, modifications were necessary to deliver an airport with a capacity of 30 million on opening day.
"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," he said.
"Progress on the project continues, with planning for construction of Airport City having started in 2012."
HIA and Airport City span a total of 29 sq km, 60 percent on land reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf.
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.
In its opening configuration, the terminal has three concourses and 33 contact gates, increasing to five concourses and 65 contact gates, including eight for the A380 in the final build-out.
The terminal also includes 16 lounges, 28 art installations, more than 100 F&B and retail outlets, a transit hotel, swimming pool, luxury spa and squash courts. An on-site public mosque will be able to accommodate 500 worshippers.