Senegal Inaugurates Saint Louis International Airport, Eyeing Regional Growth

In a significant step towards enhancing its aviation infrastructure, Senegal inaugurated the Saint Louis International Airport on Thursday, marking a new era in the country’s air transport capabilities.

The airport, named after the former president of the Economic and Social Council, Ousmane Masseck Ndiaye, is a cornerstone of the Senegalese Airport Reconstruction Program (PRAS). This initiative aims to elevate Senegal’s position as a sub-regional hub, connecting it more closely with the rest of West Africa and beyond.

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Antoine Mbengue, Minister of Air Transport and Airport Infrastructure Development, described the airport as “a real lever for development.” The facility, which cost 23.262 billion FCFA to renovate, is expected to enhance various sectors, including oil and gas, agriculture, tourism, and higher education.

The Senegalese Airport Reconstruction Program

The Saint Louis International Airport, now operational, is a critical component of the Senegalese Airport Reconstruction Program (PRAS). Named after Ousmane Masseck Ndiaye, a former president of the Economic and Social Council, the airport’s launch is poised to enhance Senegal’s position as a sub-regional aviation hub. This comes as Senegal is actively expanding its aviation network, now boasting 14 to 20 airports across the country, a significant number for a nation of its size

Saint Louis International Airport Broader Plan

The new airport boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including a runway capable of accommodating B737-300s, a modern control tower, and a terminal with a range of passenger amenities. “The opening of this airport is a long-awaited dream,” exclaimed Aida Mbengue Dieng, the deputy mayor of Saint-Louis. She emphasized its role in facilitating agribusiness activities, a major economic driver in the region.

For locals, the airport’s opening is more than just an infrastructural achievement; it symbolizes a gateway to new economic possibilities. It promises to boost tourism and provide a fillip to local businesses. The airport is initially open to domestic traffic, with plans to welcome international flights in the near future.

The broader plan includes developing non-aviation activities around the airport, such as retail, catering, and hotel facilities, thereby creating a comprehensive travel and business ecosystem.

As Senegal positions itself as a burgeoning aviation hub in West Africa, the Saint Louis International Airport stands as a testament to the country’s ambitious infrastructural and economic goals. Its success could potentially reshape the region’s air travel landscape, offering new routes and opportunities for both local and international travelers.


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