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New Doha International Airport (NDIA), Qatar

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New Doha International Airport video

Qatar is building a brand new airport to replace Doha International Airport, called the New Doha International Airport (NDIA). The airport is being constructed four kilometres from the existing facility on a 5,400-acre site and will replace Doha International Airport as Qatar's only international airport.

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The new Doha International Airport is a response to a projected demand for additional international passenger capacity to the region. The current airport handles 4.2 million passengers a year, whereas the new airport will be able to handle 24 million a year after the first phase of construction.

After its ultimate development in 2015, the airport will handle 50 million passengers, two million tons of cargo and 320,000 aircraft landings and take-offs each year.

Phase one was initially scheduled for opening in December 2012, giving the airport a passenger capacity of 24 million people a year and allowing the transportation of 750,000t of cargo. Unofficial sources, however, report that inauguration of the airport has been postponed to second half of 2013.

The airport is being constructed near the city of Doha and, when finished, will be approximately two-thirds the size of the city (12 times larger than the old airport).

Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) and the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee are the bodies in Qatar responsible for the airport construction.

During the construction process, the old airport will be expanded and refurbished at a cost of $140m. This will increase its capacity to 7.2 million passengers a year for the interim period. A new dedicated departure facility named Terminal B was opened at the airport in June 2011.

New Doha International Airport contractors and construction

The contract for the first phase of the airport construction and the planning and design phase was awarded to Bechtel Group. 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 land reclamation required more than 62 million cubic metres of 'fill' to be completed (needed four large dredgers to complete the project). 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 cubic metres of household waste from a dump to a remote engineered landfill was constructed meeting environmental standards.

The new airport will feature two of the longest commercial runways in the world, an 85m-high control tower, a 510,000m² passenger terminal with 40 gates, one cargo terminal, a 150,000m² 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.

Phase one of Qatar's brand new airport

"Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) and the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee are the bodies in Qatar responsible for the airport construction."

The first phase construction of the new airport will include two runways of 4,850m and 4,250m 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 350,000m² of floor space, of which 25,000m² 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 (the airport itself will have 17km of dual-carriageway and single-carriageway roads). 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 48,000m² cargo terminal (750,000t/y) with 15m 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 80m ATC, hangar space for two A380-800s and three A340s, plus a 70,000m² 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.

Central maintenance hub for Qatar Airways

NDIA will be the central maintenance hub for Qatar Airways' international fleet. Located in the midfield area, it will be capable of handling up to eight wide-body aircraft, including A380s, and 11 aircraft.

The base will feature a single large hangar containing heavy maintenance and light maintenance bays. The column-free design of the hangar's interior ensures flexible aircraft parking and maximum maintenance efficiency.

The workshop building at the back of the aircraft hangar bays will provide specialised maintenance and automated spare parts storage. This will include specialist workshop areas for the maintenance of engines, avionics, wheels and brakes, structures, interiors, painting, galleys, in-flight entertainment systems and safety equipment.

Airport design and air traffic control (ATC) at the NDIA

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 façade of the terminal beneath the roof will emphasise 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 as a control room in case of emergencies.

Advanced airport systems installed

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.


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.

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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.

NDIA signed an agreement with AXA Power to supply ground power units to support the onboard 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.

Construction work

In May 2006 Takenaka received a major construction contract from New Doha International Airport. The 24 month $4.34bn (¥27bn)contract covers the construction of the Emiri terminal (9,100m² with a 1,700m² parking area). This is a terminal for the exclusive use of the royal family and VIPs on state visits, which will feature a multilayered arch shaped curved design, resembling a yacht sail.

In addition Takenaka have been asked to construct a new car park building (two floors for 1,409 cars) and a mosque (2,000m² with a radius of 47m and a height of 13m, with a minaret 37m high).

As of July 2012, 99.45% of the terminal building and 99.96% of the Emiri terminal was completed. Work on the airfield paving and road tunnel, utility systems, and fuel systems was nearly 99% complete.

Construction of Air Traffic Control tower, airside and landside roadways, aircraft maintenance hangar and automated people mover was completed by July 2012.

Airport technology

When the terminal is completed it will have moving walkways to aid in movement of passengers around the complex. There will also be CO2 and heat occupancy sensors so that services can be tailored according to passenger numbers (regulate air intake). In addition, the wave like roof of the terminal will be tinted to prevent glare from the sun and conserve energy.

"The projected date for final completion is 2015. When fully completed the new Doha airport will be able to service six A380-800 superjumbos simultaneously."

In May 2007 ARINC and Thales were awarded a $75m contract for the IT, telecommunications and security systems at the airport. ARINC integrated the security systems of the airport by January 2013.

The project consists of ARINC iMuse common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) at more than 100 check-in desks. In addition, ARINC also installed the information exchange infrastructure for data movement across the airport. Thales worked on the safety and security systems and the local area network (LAN).

Both ARINC and Thales were involved in project design and management. Further technology is being installed on the runway and QinetiQ (a UK defence contractor) will provide Tarsier, a radar-based runway debris detection system. Three radar systems will scan the runway 24 hours a day and locate any debris or objects which could damage aircraft or be sucked into engines.

Smiths Detection was awarded a $132.59m (€100m) contract to provide security scanning equipment, which include automatic X-ray and trace detection. These systems will be used to screen passengers, hand luggage and checked-in bags for explosives, weapons and illegal goods.

E-gates installed at the terminal will identify the passenger of a particular trip a day before boarding so that suspicious passengers can be tracked before entering or leaving the country.

In 2012, TransCore was awarded a contract to design and install RFID-based parking and vehicle terminal access control system at the airport.

Phases two and three at Qatar's only international airport

The second phase of construction will include the addition of a further 16 contact gates and an extension of the terminal building to 416,000m².

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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.

To accommodate the extra gates, the terminal building will extend to 416,000m² and would be capable of handling more than 50 million passengers a year, 320,000 aircraft movements and two million tons of cargo.

The projected date for final completion is 2015. 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.

New Doha Airport terminal building with the airport mosque and surrounding parking area.
The Emiri terminal at New Doha Airport for use by the royal family and VIPs.
The terminal building at New Doha Airport with its access road and wave roof.
New Doha Airport's triangular section ATC tower.
Map of Qatar, showing where Doha is situated.
A Qatar Airways Airbus A380-800.
An Airbus A340-500, which will be a common sight at the airport.
An A380-800 before delivery as part of the initial fleet to be delivered to Qatar Airways.
An A380-800 superjumbo on the ground on a hard standing.