QATAR AIRWAYS SUES AIRPORT CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOR 600 MILLION US DOLLARS
In breaking news, just confirmed by Qatar Airways Director of Corporate Communications, was a price tag of 600 million US Dollars put on a law suit now launched against the joint venture construction company engaged to build the new mega airport in Doha.
Speculations were rife for a while now when an initial opening date by mid 2012 was shifted to late 2012 or early 2013 and regular updates on a possible opening date suddenly went altogether quiet.
The World’s only 5 star airline had banked on the new airport to be open, with new super sized lounges and transit facilities catering for the growing number of travelers now flying with QR via their Doha hub into the world. Increased aircraft deliveries, Qatar Airways was the Gulf launch customer for the new B787 Dreamliner, allowed for new destinations to be launched, all however resulting in putting increased pressure on the present airport facilities on the ground, which make it difficult for the airline to translate 5 star airborne experience into a similar top of the range standard on the ground. While Business and First Class lounges do meet the exacting standards travelers come to expect, increased congestion for economy class passengers has on a number of occasions been cited by passengers as not optimal, to say the least.
Outspoken Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker left no doubt over his anger and disappointment when he was quoted in the media release as having said: ‘We are extremely disappointed by the poor performance of LDI which has failed to carry out the contract in a timely manner which in turn has forced a delay of the opening of the New Doha International Airport by nearly a year. We have been badly affected as an airline with the delay impacting Qatar Airways’ expansion plans that include new aircraft deliveries and opening up new routes at the rate we want to and more importantly causing a lot of inconvenience to our passengers in addition to the revenue losses to the airline and its subsidiaries. Our subsidiaries have been also affected by this delay including Qatar Duty Free, the food outlets and the ground handling which had a negative impact on the revenues of the airline. The current airport we are operating from is already full to capacity with virtually no room to grow. We relied on moving to our new home, the New Doha International Airport this month, but this has not happened. Operational trials of the new airport have been ongoing since the summer as everything was in place, but incomplete airport lounges proved a serious setback’.
LDI’s contract within the 15.5 billion US Dollar project the new airport is expected to cost overall, was to construct airport lounges worth some 250 million US Dollars but the delays resulted in the entire project grinding to a halt and opening now moved to approximately mid 2013.
With currently 116 aircraft Qatar Airways serves globally some 122 destinations but upcoming deliveries are expected to push the fleet size to 170 aircraft and more than 170 destinations worldwide by 2015.
QR has in particular in Africa made an impact on the market, and though using a single aisle A320 aircraft for most destinations on the continent has convinced by superior inflight service, ground handling and wireless access on board. The current volume transiting in Doha of about 20 million passengers is set to rise on opening of the new airport to 28 million and will eventually reach nearly 60 million capacity when fully operational.
Watch this space as the breaking news will undoubtedly spread like wildfire among the aviation fraternity world wide as all eyes once again are focusing on Qatar Airways.