Senegal will inaugurate a new international airport before the end of the year to ease congestion in the capital, Dakar, where the West African nation’s biggest airport is based.
The Blaise Diagne International Airport will open on Dec. 7 and employ at least 500 people, Dakar-based Rewmi newspaper reported on Thursday, citing Cheikh Diouf, head of logistics and transport. The facility, whose completion has been delayed several times, is based in Diass, near the new city of Diamniadio, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Dakar.
The industrial zone in Diamniadio, built to alleviate pressure on Dakar, will also start operating in December, Le Soleil newspaper reported, citing government officials. A packaging company from Tunisia is already installed on the site and two other Chinese companies will soon follow, according to the paper. The government said in July it arranged funding for the construction of a $1 billion urban rail linking the new airport to the capital.
The Senegalese capital, Dakar, comprises 3% of the territory, 25% of the population and 80% of the economic activity of the country and the new airport is designed to allow both enhanced management of the territory and the creation of a new economic focus. It will also be a pillar for the development of tourism and exports, especially fresh produce.
Construction began in 2007 and by 2013 the project was 54% complete. By December 2014, more than 80% of the work was finished.
However, construction stopped early in 2016 due to a financial dispute between the Senegalese State and prime contractor.
The latest financial scheme features a development pool of eight banks led by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). This solution also features the appointment of a Turkish consortium featuring specialists in the construction industry, Summa and Limak, and the Senegalese authority said it is now confident that the airport will be operational by the end of 2017.
The AIBD covers an area of 4.500 hectares of which around half has been utilised so far. It features a main terminal of 4,200m² on two levels that will have a capacity of around three million passengers per year, increasing to 10 million by 2035.
A second terminal, specifically for freight operations, will have an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes. A third terminal will be used for the transport of Hajj pilgrims.
The airport will have a main 3,500mx75m runway designed to accommodate long-haul aircraft such as the A380 and B787. The airport’s infrastructure be capable of dealing, simultaneously, with 50 airliners including 26 wide-bodies, six single-aisle and 18 GA.
Certification is already well underway and it’s anticipated that it will be completed by the end of 2017, enabling all flights to be transferred from the existing Leopold-Sédar-Senghor facility.
(Bloomberg & Africanaerospace)