Qatar airport opening delayed over security concerns

The scheduled opening on Monday of Qatar's new international airport in Doha was indefinitely postponed after it failed to meet security standards, newspapers in the Gulf state reported.

The head of Qatar's civil aviation authority, Abdel Aziz al-Nuaimi, said in a statement late on Sunday that the delay was due to Hamad International Airport "not meeting the newly introduced safety and security requirements of the civil defence department".

Contractors working on the airport had "already issued international certificates in the domain of safety and security," Nuaimi said in the statement quoted by The Peninsula newspaper, without giving a new date for the opening.

In February, the civil aviation authority had set April 1 as the date for the opening of the new Hamad International Airport.

Built at a cost of 15 billion dollars, the airport will have an initial capacity to handle 30 million passengers per year, and its sponsors hope to expand that figure to 50 million by the time work finishes in 2020.

Qatar, a wealthy oil and gas producer, has made huge investments in infrastructure to establish itself as an international hub before it hosts the football World Cup in 2022.