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Djibouti launched the construction of two airports in an effort to meet the fast growing passenger, airfreight and tourism demand.
The construction of Hassan Gouled Aptidon International Airport in Bicidley, Ali-Sabieh, 25km south of the capital will be one of the biggest airports in the region when it is completed in 2018, while the second airport called Ahmed Dini Ahmed located in the northern part of the country at Ras Syan, Obock will be finished in 2016.
The project will cost almost USD 600 million. It will be constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), which is also undertaking the construction of a railway project linking Ethiopia and Djibouti.
The construction of both projects began in the presence of Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh and top officials of the construction company last week.
The Bicidley Airport will also include a Cargo Village, which will help meet Djibouti’s target of boosting air cargo service for the region.
Hassan Gouled Aptidon International Airport will have the capacity of handling 1.5 million passengers per year and it will include runways that shall accommodate modern commercial jets. It will also be able to handle 100,000 tons of cargo annually.
According to the plan, the government wants to use the current airport, which is near the city, for military purposes and the new airport for travelers and cargo.
According to the DPFZA target, the sea-cargo businesses will be effective for land locked countries in central and West Africa the east coast of the Americas and Western Europe to transport cargo from the Far East and Asia via air from Djibouti ports. “Doing this will significantly reduce transit times for cargo coming from Asia,” the port officials explained.
The Ras Syan Airport project includes the construction of a tourist resort and luxury destinations. The area is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts around the world.
The area is also close to several tourist attractions, including the Straight of Bab el-Mandeb. The second airport in the north, near the Seven Brothers Islands, with an annual capacity of 350,000 passengers when it opens in 2016, will accommodate up to 767,000 by 2021.
The government has several incentives for investors who want to engage in tourism. The standard airport project is one of the government’s strategies for boosting the tourism sector. Officials of the National Tourism Authority of Djibouti recently told Capital that the authority has a large interest in linking the tourism sector with Ethiopia like other economic activities that the two countries are jointly working on.
“We want Ethiopian tourism operators to include Djibouti in their tourism package because we are geographically closer than other countries in the south or east African region that have a sea side tourism business,” Mohamed Abdillahi Waiss, Director General of the National Tourism Authority of Djibouti, told journalists who recently visited Djibouti.
Currently, Djibouti is undertaking several seaside investments. China has become the major development partner for the country.