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New Doha International Airport targets 12/12/12 opening

Originally published on 01/05/2012 - Filed under: News »

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The New Doha International Airport (NDIA) is targeting a 12/12/12 official opening.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told media at Arabian Travel Market today that it has the pivotal date in mind for NDIA's launch - although he added full operations are unlikely to occur on this exact date, and most likely it will start receiving passengers from early next year.

After a brief presentation - which included a slide promoting the 'Best Business Class' award it picked up at Sunday's Business Traveller Middle East Awards, as well as a glimpse of spacious, partitioned check-in areas that will soon await business class passengers - he said the budget for the airport had increased by $1 billion to $15.6 billion on account of an additional extension to handle "the ever greater increase in passenger numbers". Qatar Airways recorded 22% growth in the first three months of this year.

At yesterday's seminar, he talked candidly about a range of industry issues - but today tried to clarify its financial position.

He said it was "not interested in acquisitions at the moment" and has "no interest in loss-making entities", although he did concede it would consider working with well-run airlines which may have a shortage of equity.

Fuel now accounts for 41% of the airline's costs, but he said it is forward hedged to 2015.

This month the airline launches services to Zagreb (May 9) and Erbil (May 23).

Report by Dominic Ellis

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