Qatar Airways is filing a US$600 million legal claim against German Emirati joint venture construction company Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) for causing a significant delay to the opening of the New Doha International Airport by up to a year.
LDI had undertaken to complete the construction of 19 airport lounges at NDIA by the summer of 2012 in a contract worth over US$ 250 million, but failed to complete the project on time.
The airport was due to have opened in December 2012.
Qatar Airways, set to be the airport operator, said LDI had badly defaulted with the delayed airport opening seriously affecting the airline’s expansion plans, causing huge revenue losses, increased construction costs and delay penalties, and more importantly, inconveniencing passengers.
LDI was described as having performed extremely poorly in executing the project and failing to meet construction targets.
The US$15.5 billion new state-of-the-art airport, which will have Doha-based Qatar Airways as its primary customer and operator, is now expected to open in the second half of 2013.
The current Doha International Airport handles almost 20 million passengers a year, with over 80 per cent of the passenger traffic generated by Qatar Airways alone.
Had it been completed on time, the new airport would have accommodated the rapid expansion of Qatar’s national airline.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker cited ‘extreme poor performance’ and inability to execute the work within the time required for the project as the reasons for LDI’s contract being terminated, resulting in the legal action estimated at up to US$600 million now being taken.
“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,” said Al Baker.
“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.”