Doha sees lift off for world record hangar

Contractor uses patented lifting technique on US$5.5 b. airport contract

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By  Sean Cronin Published  April 16, 2005

he team building one of the world’s largest aircraft hangars on the US $5.5 billion Doha International Airport has completed a roof lift using unique arch-shaping technology known as ‘stress erection’. The flat roof of the US $18 m 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. Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker said: “The hangar will be unique on its completion because of its ground-breaking technology.” A total of 144 steel cables 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, which covers a total area of 155 metres by 60 metres, was raised during 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 aircraft hangar in Doha 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 it is 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 developed the lifting technique in-house and it has now patented the technology. The new hangar will be capable of accommodating two Airbus A330s and Qatar Airways’ new double-deck A380 when it comes into service in 2009. “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,” said Al Baker. Work has already started on the new Doha International Airport, which is scheduled to open in phases from 2009. The new airport will initially be capable of handling up to 12 million passengers a year, rising to 50 million passengers when it is 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 firm of consultants WS Atkins has been appointed by Qatar Airways to oversee the hangar project.

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