The new Doha International Airport (NDIA) is targeting an official opening date of December 12, 2012.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told media at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai today that it has the date of 12/12/12 in mind for NDIA's launch. Although he added that full operations were unlikely to occur on this exact date, and the airport will most likely start receiving passengers from early next year.
Al Baker said the budget for the airport had increased by $1 billion to $15.6 billion on account of an additional extension to handle "the ever greater increase in passenger numbers" - Qatar Airways recorded 22% growth in passengers during the first three months of this year as it continues to add routes.
At yesterday's seminar, Al Baker talked candidly about a range of industry issues but today he tried to clarify its financial position.
He said Qatar Airways was "not interested in acquisitions at the moment" and has "no interest in loss-making entities", although he did concede it would consider working with well-run airlines which may have a shortage of equity.
Fuel now accounts for 41% of the airline's costs, but he said it was forward hedged to 2015.
This month the airline launches services from Doha to Zagreb in Croatia on May 9 and Erbil in Iraq from May 23. Qatar has also announced that it will resume flights to Burma after a gap of four years with services to the capital Yangon from October 3.
Heathrow-Doha services were increased from four to five a day in March.
Al Baker said: “This year alone will see Qatar Airways take delivery of one new aircraft every 15 days, so there are plenty of opportunities to look at inducting them into service on both new and well established routes.”