Monday, January 22, 2018
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Senegal opens new airport


AFP
Diass
Senegal has opened a flagship new airport on Thursday, seven years later than originally planned but with ambitions to become a west African regional hub with a capacity for three million passengers.
President Macky Sall cut the ribbon at Blaise Diagne International Airport (AIBD) at midday (1200 GMT) in the town of Diass, 47 kilometres (29 miles) from the capital of Dakar, while a plane from new airline Air Senegal made the first symbolic takeoff.
Blaise Diagne is at the heart of Sall's"Emerging Senegal" plan, which includes the construction of a new city, Diamniadio, close to the site in Diass.
As the country invests more heavily in tourism, Senegal is also betting on the facility's strategic position close to several beach resorts that are already heavily frequented by European holidaymakers.
With a capacity of three million passengers, Blaise Diagne will still rank far below the busiest African airports and a long way off challenging Nigeria in the west African region, though plans for up to 10 million travellers are in the pipeline, according to officials.
Passenger numbers have increased in recent years at Dakar's current airport in the middle of the city, leading to long waits at security and contributing to chronic traffic jams, and the old Leopold Sedar Senghor airport will become a military airfield from Friday.
The new airport boasts six footbridges direct to flight cabins, and will be able to service a range of aircraft including Airbus's massive A380s.

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