DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A massive new airport in the Qatari capital has started handling its first commercial flights after years of delays as the natural-gas rich Gulf nation works to transform itself into a major aviation hub.
Mideast budget carrier FlyDubai says one of its flights landed Wednesday at Hamad International Airport around noon local time.
A ceremonial flight operated by national airline Qatar Airways landed at the new airport earlier in the day, symbolically marking the facility's first phase of operations.
The airport cost at least $15.5 billion to build. Its 600,000 square meter (6.5 million square feet) passenger terminal complex is the largest building in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Ten foreign airlines will operate from the airport during an initial low-key opening period, with Qatar Airways and other carriers joining later.