New Qatar airport to open next week after delay

The new airport was originally due to open in 2012 but construction delays and other elements slowed the project

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Qatar's new Hamad International Airport, a key part of its plans to become a regional aviation hub, will open to passenger traffic next week after construction delays of more than a year, the country's Civil Aviation Authority said.

Initially budget airlines will operate at the airport, while other airlines will start services there in May, according to a circular from the authority.

The new airport, part of Qatar's preparations to host the soccer World Cup in 2022, was originally due to open in 2012 but the project was slowed by delays among construction firms and quality and cost issues, building industry sources said.

As of May 27, "all airlines shall entirely move to Hamad International Airport," the circular said.

Qatar's current airport, Doha International, handled 23.3 million passengers last year, according to its website. Officials have said Hamad International, projected to cost around $17.5 billion, will ultimately be able to handle 50 million passengers and 2 million tonnes of cargo annually.

Fast-growing flag carrier Qatar Airways, which has expanded to a fleet of 116 aircraft since its launch 15 years ago, has said Doha's existing airport has reached capacity and the delay in moving to the new facility was hindering its expansion plans.

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