Media reports show that the Qatar Airways chief has blamed a U.S. contractor for causing further delay towards completion of the Hamad International Airport (HIA).
According to Dow Jones, Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, the San Francisco-based Bechtel has shown a “complacent” attitude and “they [Bechtel] have to be blamed… for our delay in the first place.”
The Gulf state’s USD 15.5 billion Hamad International was slated to welcome passengers from April 1, but the facility has failed to meet the newly introduced safety and security requirements put in place by the airline and the country’s civil aviation authority.
However, the airline’s CEO has not yet revealed the carrier’s intention to seek compensation from Bechtel. The airport is now expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.
The airport project was originally scheduled to open three years ago, but was delayed several times due to disputes with contractors. Last year, Qatar Airways filed a USD 600 million legal claim against German-Emirati joint venture contractor Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) for delaying the airport completion by up to a year. Qatar Airways had alleged that the delay had adversely impacted the airline’s expansion plans, resulting in significant revenue losses, increased construction costs, delay penalties and inconvenience to passengers.
The LDI was awarded a USD 250 million contract to complete the construction of 19 airport lounges by the summer of 2012. Rebutting the carrier’s claims, LDI claimed that it was “denied full access to the project site for the first nine months of the 16-month project…and LDI was unable to start all interior contracting work on site as planned.”