Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker is confident that Doha's new airport Hamad International will be up and running before the city hosts this year's IATA annual general meeting, which kicks off on 1 June.
Al Baker says the airport has "some issues relating to some special systems which until now are still unstable", but "the contractor is working very hard" to address these. "Full-scale testing" is set to proceed by the end of this month, he says.
"This is why we think we will be in a position to open the terminal building before the IATA AGM," adds Al Baker. "I’ll keep my fingers crossed."
Opening will proceed in two phases. Low-costs and airlines with only point-to-point traffic will transfer to the airport during the initial, soft phase.
The new two-runway hub will include 30,000m2 of retail space. "The concept is really like you are entering a mall, not a duty-free facility," says Al Baker.