The 10m long steel scaffold pole swings precariously close to the transfer bus door as the ex-patriate Indian worker, clad in full-face scarf to ward off the swirling dust, heaves it up to a colleague on the next level. Work is in full swing in and around the daily operations during a busy peak at
Workers crawl all over the modestly sized terminal and apron to expand the Qatari capital's airport capacity in advance of a bright, shiny new model (see artist's impressions above and below) scheduled to open in 2009. It is urgently needed. The small Gulf state's flag carrier Qatar Airways is out-growing its home base. In fact it has virtually out-grown it already, and is already capacity constrained at peak times.
So, even though the new airport complex is within sight, some $300 million is being spent at the current one to cope with the ambitions of Qatar Airways. This interim measure will expand the apron and terminal and include the fast-track construction of a dedicated first and business class terminal to open in the third quarter. It is badly needed: the airport's lounges were bursting at the seams during a recent visit.
The new airport will be impressive, and a testament to the aspirations of this gas-rich state to develop a flourishing economy and tourist trade. In fact, so fast is the growth of Qatar Airways that the airport's planned second phase has already been approved. This will boost its capacity from 12 million passengers annually to double that number.
In common with near-neighbours
And although for many the only sight of
More is in the calendar before the big one: The 2006 Asian Games, which arrives in