Senegal's new $575 million airport opens after 10-year saga

Story highlights

  • Senegal's largest airport opens in December
  • Decade-long construction process suffered several setbacks
  • Airport is part of wide-ranging development program

(CNN)The largest airport in Senegal will open its doors on December 7, after more than a decade of development and delays.

Blaise Diagne International (AIBD) will have initial capacity for three million passengers per year, rising to 10 million per year, making it one of the highest-capacity airports in Africa.
    Blaise Diagne will take over services from Senegal's current flagship airport Léopold Sédar Senghor International in capital city Dakar, which will cease operations.
      The $575 million megaproject is envisioned as the centerpiece of an ambitious new development program.

      Breathing space

      The new airport is based in rural Diass, around 40 kilometers east of Dakar.
      The remote location offers more space for the project than the crowded capital, where the existing airport has been affected by heavy traffic congestion.
      Blaise Diagne occupies a 4,500-hectare site compared with 800 hectares at Léopold Sédar Senghor. The new airport also boasts a larger terminal and runways that can accommodate more passengers and flights.
      "The AIBD airport is definitely a state-of-the-art infrastructure project," says El Hadji Beye, a civil engineer specializing in West Africa. "The new facility's increased size can accommodate larger planes like the Airbus A380 and will h