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Qatar Airways files $600 million claim over new airport

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar Airways said it was filing a $600 million legal claim against a contractor for a delay in opening a new international airport in Doha.

Lindner Depa Interiors, a German-Dubai joint venture , holds a $250 million contract to build 19 airport lounges by the middle of 2012, Qatar Airways said in a statement on Saturday.

In a statement later in the day, LDI said it had not received a legal claim from Qatar Airways and described the carrier's allegations as "false and misleading".

It said it was not able to meet its original completion deadline because it was denied full access to the project site for the first nine months of a 16-month contract.

LDI also said it had no contractual relationship with Qatar Airways and that it was in arbitration with its client on the project, New Doha International Airport. Qatar Airways will run the airport when it becomes operational.

The $15.5 billion airport in the Qatari capital will be the hub for the airline, which has grown to a fleet of 116 aircraft since its launch 15 years ago. The new airport was scheduled to open this month but is now expected to start operating in late 2013, Qatar Airways said.

It said Doha's existing airport had reached capacity and the delay in moving to a new facility was hindering the company's expansion plans.

LDI is a joint venture between Lindner Group and Depa United Group .

(Reporting By Praveen Menon; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Robert Birsel and Jane Baird)

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