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Qatar announces airport expansion

Qatar's Hamad International airport is to expand to increase capacity from 30 million to 60 million passengers a year by 2021, MEED has reported.10 Jan 2017

The two-year-old airport is already handling some 36 million passengers, well in excess of its design capacity, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker told MEED.

"The government has approved the budget and the design is being completed… we will undertake a public tender very soon and want to complete the construction as soon as possible," he told the news site.  

There are three elements to the expansion, MEED said: an extension to the main terminal building, the construction of two new concourses, and a connection to the Red line of the Doha Metro, MEED said.

The expanded main terminal will include 47 more economy check in counters, new baggage carousels, and a new premium check in area with 17 counters and its own access road and drop off point, the news site said.

Doha-based construction expert Peter Blackmore of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "The rapid growth of Hamad International is due to an aggressive push to bring hub traffic to the GCC, with passengers transferring in Doha on routes between the US and Europe, and Africa and Asia Pacific."

"That said, the population of Qatar is currently over 2.6 million and continuing to grow, and tourism is also growing, with the World Cup expected to bring a big influx of visitors. Qatar hopes to market itself as more of a destination rather than a hub," Blackmore said.

"The size of the existing airport was increased substantially during its construction and, partly as a result of that, was six years late in opening. This gave rise to a large number of disputes, many of which are yet to be resolved, so some contractors may prove reluctant to work at the airport again," he said.