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Special Report | February 2014

Rising from the Persian Gulf

The world's newest aviation hub, the Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar's capital city, is unusual. Reclaimed from the sea, much of its land required special treatment in this long-term construction project. Armed with two of the world's longest runways and a huge catering centre, it will finally see the light of day on April 2014 after a series of cost escalations and delays. PROJECTS INFO reports.  

Conceived almost 10 years ago, HIA's planning started as far back as 2003, while construction began in 2006. After more than seven years, Phase 1 and 2 and a part of Phase 3 are scheduled to open in 2014, and the third and final phase is scheduled for 2015. The airport is built over 36 sq km (14 sq miles), half of which is on land reclaimed from the sea.


The newly built airport will have an annual capacity to handle around 29 million passengers, three times the capacity of the current airport. It will also handle 2 mt of cargo and 320,000 aircraft landings and take-offs each year. Also, this new airport will be three times bigger than the old Doha airport. Once completely built, it will be able to handle 50 million passengers per year, although some estimates suggest the airport could handle up to 93 million per year, making it the second largest airport in the region after Dubai. Built at a total cost of $140 million, the airport's dedicated facility Terminal B was opened in June 2011.


The airport is being constructed near the city of Doha and, when finished, will be approximately one-thirds the size of the city (12 times larger than the old airport). The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) and the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee are the bodies in Qatar responsible for the airport construction.


The airport's design has an oasis theme. Many of the buildings will have a water motif, with wave-styled roofs and desert plants growing in recycled water.


 The contract for the first phase of the airport construction and the planning and design phase was awarded to Bechtel Group, an EPC major: Bechtel is the largest construction and engineering company in the United States, and has airport experience in Las Vegas and London's Gatwick. It completed all six phases of the expansion and modernisation of the McCarran airport in Las Vegas, since 1981, while it has managed the airport's capital investment programme. The company is providing engineering, project management, and construction management services to HIA. The project started in early 2004 with a detailed planning and design phase, when Bechtel produced a master plan of the new airport. The work continued in 2004 with a massive land reclamation project since more than half of the area of the new airport will be constructed on land reclaimed from the sea, amounting to 10.9 square miles. The reclamation was completed in early 2005 and the reclaimed area required 13km of armoured seawall to protect the construction. The removal of 6.5 million cu m of household waste from a dump to a remote engineered landfill was constructed meeting environmental standards.


The terminal and concourses were designed by the architecture firm HOK. EPC contract for Phase I and II were undertaken by Turkish TAV Construction and Japanese Taisei Corporation.


 The new airport will feature two of the longest commercial runways in the world, an 85m-high control tower, a 510,000 sq m passenger terminal with 40 gates, one cargo terminal, a 150,000 sq m aircraft maintenance centre, one separate terminal for the Emir of Qatar, a general aviation terminal, one of the world's largest airport catering facilities, air traffic control equipment and security systems. The two parallel runways is located 2 km from each other, which are designed for simultaneous take-offs and landings.


Phase 1: The first phase construction of the new airport will include two runways of 4,850 m and 4,250 m in length, designed specifically to accommodate the new Airbus A380-800 superjumbo. A three-storey terminal building is also being constructed, including 40 contact gates and 350,000 sq m of floor space, of which 25,000 sq m will be dedicated as retail space. In addition, there will be seven remote gates and eight hardstand aircraft parking bays.


There will also be three new major road interchanges to provide access to the new airport from the city and surrounding areas. To facilitate passengers, the airport will have a five-star luxury hotel and a three-star transit hotel.


The complex will also include a centrally located 48,000 sq m cargo terminal (750,000t/y) with 15 m clearance, which will be among the 20 largest cargo terminals in the world. There will also be hard standing areas for the passenger terminal, an 80 m ATC, hangar space for two A380-800s and three A340s, plus a 70,000 sq m maintenance centre with mezzanine levels for access to aircraft top decks.


For the convenience of passengers there will be an automated storage and retrieval system. Major cargo will be transported in unit load devices (ULD).


The system will have a capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 ULDs. Import cargo consignments and those awaiting loading in the containers will be stored in the automated storage system.


The cargo system will include advanced facilities, such as high-bay storage areas for import and export of cargo, work stations for make-up and breakdown of ULD loads, storage areas of special cargo such as hazardous materials, valuable items, cold storage, perishable foods and medicines. Phases 2 & 3: The second phase of construction will include the addition of a further 16 contact gates and an extension of the terminal building to 416,000 sq m. In addition, there will be a suspended monorail system for passenger transit through the terminal.


A further luxury hotel will be constructed to accommodate the additional passenger capacity of more than 25 million a year passing through the airport. The third phase will include the addition of a further 40 contact gates, which would bring the final total to 80.


When fully completed, the new Doha airport will be able to service six A380-800 superjumbos simultaneously. The airport will be the first in the world purpose-built to accommodate these aircraft. Airport design and air traffic control (ATC): The design of the roof structure will make it a landmark structure in international aviation. The roof will have a wave-like structure. The transparent fa+Âșade of the terminal beneath the roof will emphasize the roof's curves.


The elevated crescent-shaped ATC tower, topped by a glazed control room, will allow central control, between the two parallel runways and airside facilities. There will also be a training room that can double up as a control room in case of emergencies.


Advanced airport systems: The terminal's undulating stainless-steel roof will be finished with a new non-reflective coating to eliminate glare. The baggage system will be monitored through an automated baggage handling system (BHS) by the use of radio frequency identification devices (RFID). It will also augment the in-line security system, which incorporates CTX level three for explosive detection.


The airport system will be connected by a fibre-optic backbone system, and the airport operational database to enable further need of additional cabling. Air traffic controllers will monitor activities using high-resolution LCD monitors.


When finished, the check-in and retail areas will be about twelve times bigger than the existing check-in and retail facilities. The terminal will feature digital automated terminal information service system (D-ATIS) and general display system, supplied by Terma.


Greening the terminal
 Comprehensive technical studies have been undertaken to determine the potential effects of the project on natural resources and communities. The reclamation of sediments and the removal of uncontrolled waste from the project site and plantation are some of the initiatives taken.


To maintain water quality and marine ecology, sediment monitoring programmes are underway and an environmental monitoring programme will be undertaken every six months.


Measures include the retention and treatment of stormwater, monitoring of the sewage treatment plant and the implementation of an environmental incident response plan.


During airport operations a solid waste treatment plant (SWTP) will reduce and process solid waste. A wastewater treatment plant will reuse waste water.


Qatar Airways will relocate its headquarters and training facilities to the maintenance complex at the new Doha airport when it opens. The first phase will allow the airport to serve two A380-800 superjumbos at the same time.


Also, NDIA signed an agreement with AXA Power to supply ground power units to support the on-board aircraft auxiliary power unit when aircraft are parked. These units will help to reduce emissions and noise levels in the airport area, stepping towards a greener environment.


Quick look
 Project Name:
Hamad International Airport
 Capacity: 50 million passengers, 2 million tonne of cargo and 320,000 aircraft landings and take-offs each year
 Cost: $140 million
 Contractors: Bechtel Group, HOK, AXA Power, Terma, Turkish TAV Construction and Japanese Taisei Corporation
 Phases: III
 Completion year: 2015
 Work force: 39,000
 Terminal building size: 600,000 sq m
 Contact gates: 80 contact gates, including 25,000 sq m devoted to retail space, comfortable lounges, and multi-storey short-term and long-term parking facilities


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