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Int'l Ouagadougou-Donsin airport: EUR 220 million, 2025 for delivery and 30-year concession Int'l Ouagadougou-Donsin airport: EUR 220 million, 2025 for delivery and 30-year concession

The active phase of the long-awaited construction of the new Ougadougou-Donsin international airport can finally begin. Meridiam, the successful bidder for this mega-project, announced the signing on Wednesday 13 October of a 30-year concession agreement with the State of Burkina Faso for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of this new infrastructure located 35 kilometres north-east of the capital.

Under the terms of the agreement, engineering and construction is expected to start at the end of 2022 after financial close, for an estimated duration of 30 months, with delivery expected in 2025.  On this project, Meridiam is working in partnership with the Marseille-Provence Airport (AMP), which will contribute its expertise through a technical assistance contract and a minority stake in the company in charge of the project. We are talking about a colossal project that represents a total investment of over 220 million euros.

"The projected revenue generated by the agreement for the State budget is 450 million euros, or about 294,750,000,000 FCFA in tax revenue, and 100 million euros, or 65,500,000,000 FCFA in concession fees," said the government during the Council of Ministers meeting on 30 July.

The new airport will be able to receive 1 million passengers per year when it is put into service. "Once in operation, the total economic impact of the new airport is estimated at 420 million euros. During construction, direct and indirect job creation is expected to amount to almost 5,000. While the jobs directly generated by the airport activities are expected to reach around 1,400 employees during operation," says Meridiam.

The unions' reservations

Despite these many expected advantages, the concession project still arouses the reluctance of airport staff.  In a letter to the President of the Republic dated 13 October, the Burkina Faso Civil Aviation Unions expressed "fundamental reservations".

The collective recalls that a sectoral law of April 2000 sets the privatisation of the airports of Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso at 20 years; it also denounces the absence of a framework document clarifying the maintenance of rights and benefits and the transfer of the concessionaire's staff; and it protests against the absence of tangible proof of the viability of the state's regalian structures in the field.

The collective of union members also takes offence at the ambiguity maintained in the management of security, a sovereign domain of the state, "which is supposedly excluded from the scope of the concession but for which 80% of the fees are paid to the concessionaire".

In view of this string of denunciations, the collective, which brings together six unions, rejects the signed agreement and puts the word of strike back on the table, recalling that these unilateral steps by the state "complicate the frank and sincere dialogue between the government and the social partners".

A project at the heart of development issues

In order to comply with the objectives of sustainable development, the project includes: the construction of a solar power plant that will provide 80% of the airport's electricity needs; 24 km of new drinking water pipes to serve the new airport as well as the local population, the University of Ouaga 2 and the village of Nomgana/Loumbila; a new 7 km electricity loop that will connect the new airport to the public network, but also to connect the economic and health infrastructures planned near the new airport. The project also includes more than 130 kilometres of fibre optic cable to connect the site to the broadband network.

The construction of the new airport meets the government's objectives, among others, to increase the levels of safety and security of aeronautical activities by moving them out of the city of Ouagadougou and bringing the airport up to ICAO, IATA and ECOWAS standards; to ensure better traffic flow in the city centre and a better connection with the southern periphery of the capital; improve traffic flow and the quality of life in Ouagadougou by reducing air pollution and noise levels; and ensure the economic and social development of the Donsin region through the impact of the project on the area of influence.

The project, whose socio-economic feasibility study was conducted by consultants Lufthansa Consulting and Mott Mac Donald, is not only about the airport. It includes the development of related infrastructure and the commercialisation of the former airport site. In phase 1, the hub will be equipped with a 3500 m runway and two telescopic walkways. Phase 2 will see the expansion of the terminal building to 5,000 m², the addition of an extra boarding bridge, and the expansion of the parking area to accommodate passenger/cargo demand. Phase 3, which is a forecast for further development after 2040, will cover the construction of a second runway.

Financial partners in the project include the World Bank, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the French Development Agency (AFD).

It should be recalled that the project was officially launched in November 2017.  According to the latest report from the Donsin Airport Project Management (MOAD), the access roads are fully completed, while the roads inside the airport platform and the military base are under construction. Work on the airfield and aeronautical pavements started in January 2021. These are being carried out by the Sogea Satom/Kharafi consortium, which last year won the contract for the execution of lot 2A for a sum of CFAF 79.655 billion. The buildings in the technical zone have been under construction since March 2021.

Source: newsaero