Doha, QATAR – One of the world’s largest aircraft hangars currently under construction at Doha International Airport has undergone an engineering feat with the raising of the roof using unique arch-shaping technology known as ‘stress erection’.
The flat roof of the US$18m facility, to be used for the maintenance of Qatar Airways aircraft, was assembled in a horizontal position at ground level before being raised during a 10-hour procedure that involved no cranes – just a series of cables and hydraulic jacks.
The technology used is known as ‘stressed arch’ where 144 thick steel cables encased in long tubes tugged at the structure, forcing six trusses to move inwards up to 20 metres and shaping the flat roof to slowly form an arch.
The first section of the curved roof covering an area of 155 metres by 60 metres was raised in a five-hour operation in March. The second section measuring 155 metres by 72 metres was raised in a similar time frame this week. On completion, the hangar will be the biggest of its kind featuring stretched arch technology.
Construction work started on the project in June 2004 and is scheduled to be completed in two months’ time. The hangar will measure 155 metres in length, 135 metres wide and 35 metres high at its highest point when fully completed.
The stretched arch technology was developed by Strarch, an Australian company that specialises in large clear span building structures using mainly structural steel in unique ways.
Strarch has developed unique technology in-house that includes what it has now patented, a “stressed arch“ building system. This involves arch shape structures that are created with stress-erection technology.
The new hangar will be capable of accommodating at the same time two Airbus A330s and Qatar Airways’ new double-deck A380 when it comes into service in 2009. In addition, the hangar can have six other aircraft parked inside – four A320s and two smaller executive jets.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “Having the largest facility of its kind in the Middle East, let alone the world, to accommodate up to nine aircraft at the same time enables this facility to also become a maintenance centre for other airlines.
“The hangar will be unique on its completion because of its ground-breaking technology. As an airline, Qatar Airways is at the forefront of innovation by introducing revolutionary products and services and, as a country, Qatar is shaping itself to beat the forefront of the aviation industry by developing a global hub.”
Work has already started on the US$5.5bn New Doha International Airport NDIA, which is scheduled to open in phases from 2009. The new airport will initially be capable of handling 12 million passengers a year, rising to 50 million passengers when fully developed in 2015. One of the project’s key features is that 40% of the site will be built on reclaimed land from the Arabian Gulf.
British consultancy company WS Atkins has been appointed by Qatar Airways to oversee the hangar project. Robert Hope, Atkins’ Resident Director in Qatar, said: “Atkins is delighted to have been commissioned by Qatar Airways to oversee the design and construction of this prestigious project, the largest single span hangar of this type in the world.
“It is a tribute to the foresight of Qatar Airways and its Chief Executive Mr Al Baker that we celebrate this ground breaking technology, the first of its kind in the Middle East.”
Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
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