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New airport opens in Senegal

Approximately three million passengers are expected to go through AIBD annually. (Image source: AfDB)

Senegal has opened new International Blaise Diagne Airport (AIBD), a US$618.62mnproject, which is co-financed with the African Development Bank (AfDB)

The airport project comes in line with the bank’s commitment to Africa’s air transportation development, a strategic component of the High 5 agenda to integrate Africa.

With a 42,000 sq m passenger terminal and 12,800 sq m cargo terminal building, the airport is expected to handle 50,000 tonnes of cargo and 80,000 aircraft movements annually. Additionally, the facility aims to offer a long-term solution to intra-African economic activity and resolve a perennial problem of low levels of aviation connectivity in West and Central Africa.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB, said, “This airport will improve regional connectivity, drive down costs of transportation, grow and transform the economy.”

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), Africa is expected to have an average annual passenger increase of five per cent in the next 20 years.

According to Pierre Guislain, vice-president of the AfDB for private sector, infrastructure and industrialisation, “Africa must be ready to capitalise on this opportunity. The new Airport brings us closer to winning the West African aviation connectivity and logistics hub battle.”

The AfDB said that it will continue to support the development of the aviation industry in Africa, which is a major trigger for social and economic progress on the continent.

The bank contributed US$82.48mn in loans and acted as a mandated lead arranger to facilitate an additional US$164.97mn in loans. Other major financiers are the Islamic Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement, the Saudi Fund and the West African Development Bank (BOAD).

The aviation project has already had significant socio-economic impact in Senegal, creating 3,000 local jobs during the construction phase and 427 full-time jobs for the operational phase. In addition, the project is set to explore more jobs in engineering, maintenance, information technologies and security in the next few years.