The 971 Report

Qatar calls off airport opening at last minute

Qatar has called off the April 1 opening of its new Hamad International Airport (HIA) for not meeting safety standards, local website reported on Monday. 

The airport was scheduled to open on Monday with a first inaugural Qatar Airways flight, but could now be delayed for two weeks, the report said.

Abdulaziz Al Noaimi, Chairman of the New Doha International Airport's (NDIA) Steering Committee said they were forced to put off the April 1 inauguration as the airport did not meet the newly introduced safety and security requirements mandated by the Civil Defence Department, the website reported, citing media reports in Qatar.

Qatar Airways is expected to move its entire operations from the current Doha International Airport (DIA) to HIA by the end of the year.

[Related story: Hamad International Airport to set new standards]

Ten airlines were supposed to be flying out of HIA from day one, although these were mostly budget carriers.

The new airport was originally scheduled to open three years ago, but faced several delays due to disputes with contractors. Flights from HIA were set to begin on 12 December 2012, before being postponed to the most recent date of April 1.

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