Senegal has a new airport as the West African country seeks to underline its status as an airline hub in the sub-region.
The Blaise Diagne International Airport was officially opened on 7 December by President Macky Sall. He called it a “source of satisfaction and legitimate pride” for the country. The airport is named after the first African to be elected a lawmaker in France, as far back as 1914.
Located about 50 km from the Senegalese capital of Dakar. It has a capacity for three million passengers per year as compared to the current travel traffic of 1.9 million passengers per annum. The government is aiming for 5 million passengers in 2023 and 10 million in 2035.
While expected to increase air traffic to the country, the authorities are also hoping it will translate into increased tourism and by that an economic boost.
Construction of the airport started in 2007. Therefore it took a decade to complete the project. The cost of the project is put at $600m. It was started by a Saudi firm but later completed by a Turkish firm after a dispute with the Saudis.
The financing is said to have come from the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency, the West African Development Bank, and other banks from South Africa, Canada and Saudi Arabia.