Qatar Airways Catering Facility, Hamad International Airport

New construction; Qatar Airways Catering Facility, Hamad International Airport; Ghafari Associates


Completed exterior of catering facility. Courtesy: Ghafari Engineering firm: Ghafari Associates
2013 MEP Giants rank:
Qatar Airways Catering Facility, Hamad International Airport
Doha, Qatar
Building type:
Project type:
New construction
Engineering services:
Electrical/Power, Fire & Life Safety, HVAC
Project timeline:
June 2008 to July 2012
Engineering services budget:
$119 million
MEP budget: $119 million


Completed exterior of catering facility. Courtesy: GhafariThis 694,000-sq-ft. in-flight and commercial catering facility serves Qatar Airways in addition to 50 domestic and international airlines. With its 8 cooking and 12 preparation kitchens, the three-story facility has the capacity to prepare and deliver 82,000 meals per day, providing meals and in-flight services to over 800 flights per day. In addition, the facility houses a bulk kitchen to provide 12,000 meals per day to various airport serveries and a commercial laundry capable of processing 40 tons of cleaning per day.

The facility was designed in a series of compartments to clearly define and maintain segregation of differing hygiene zones with a focus on sanitation, food safety, and proper food handling procedures. These compartments include a hot and cold kitchen with specialized sub-kitchens for the Kitchen interior. Courtesy: Ghafari preparation of Asian cuisine as well as a bakery/pastry kitchen. Each compartment is organized with a pre-preparation holding refrigerator or freezer, food preparation work area, post-preparation holding refrigerator, cooking work area, dishing work area, and post-dishing refrigerator or blast freezer and holding freezer.

Additionally, a facility-wide vacuum waste system removes food waste directly from the areas in which it is generated to eliminate the need for manual removal of waste materials within the facility. The facility incorporates automated material handling systems, including aircraft trolley conveyor and storage systems, as well as an automated bin conveyor system with AS/RS (automated storage and retrieval systems) used for dishes, silverware and glassware.

Bird’s-eye 3D model of MEP systems. Courtesy: GhafariSolutions

Client-mandated deliverables included only two-dimensional CAD drawings and PDFs. However, given the complex nature of the project, Ghafari produced all of its documentation using 3D building information modeling (BIM) from the beginning to improve document coordination between disciplines and facilitate better systems coordination. This included not only building utilities, but also operations considerations including multilevel conveying systems that required no conflicts. The team's use of Autodesk's Navisworks Manage allowed each of the various disciplines to work in different programs while still enabling all models to be merged in order to identify conflicts. Regular integration sessions were conducted with major Aerial rendering of catering facility. Courtesy: Ghafaristakeholders to identify conflicts in design and to propose solutions to eliminate or mitigate future issues.

The facility's primary use is for high hygiene operations in kitchens and food preparation, for which building air pressurization is critical. The mechanical system includes 5,000 tons of cooling utilizing three centrifugal chillers and 36 air handling units, each with energy recovery systems for pre-cooling per the facility's ventilation requirements.

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