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, cited 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, cited government officials. A packaging company from Tunisia is already installed on the site and two other Chinese companies will soon follow.
The airport was originally expected to be operational at the end of the year 2011, but this date was pushed back by almost a year in September of that year. In September 2012, Senegalese Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye announced that the airport would open in the first quarter of 2014. In January 2015, word spread that the airport would open in June 2015. On April 4, 2015 Reuters announced a new opening date for early 2016. Construction of the new airport is almost 90% complete.
The expected building costs have risen to 566 million euros, with over 400 million coming from the Saudi Binladin Group.The Senegalese government said in July it arranged funding for the construction of a $1 billion urban rail linking the new airport to the capital.