Senegal has officially opened its new flagship international airport seven years later than originally planned, with the plans to make it a west African regional hub with a capacity for 3 million passengers.
President Macky Sall cut the ribbon at Blaise Diagne International Airport Thursday afternoon while a plane from new airline Air Senegal made the first symbolic takeoff.
Located in the town of Diass, 47 kilometres from the capital of Dakar, Blaise Diagne International Airport is named after the Senegalese MP who was the first African elected to France’s parliament.
Work began in 2007 on the $767 million airport under former president Abdoulaye Wade, but was delayed following a disagreement with the original contractor, Saudi Arabia’s Bin Laden construction.
Construction was then completed on the 4,500-hectare site by Turkish consortium Summa-Limak.
The new airport features six footbridges direct to flight cabins for boarding, and will be able to service a range of aircraft including Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747.
Construction of the new airport was supported by loans from France’s development agency the African Development Bank, the West African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.