February 25, 2024

Opened 27 years after Decision: Luanda’s new airport puts BER in the shade

The new airport has opened in Angola’s capital – 27 years after initial plans. This is longer than it took at the airport in the German capital.

The world laughed at the construction of BER. Berlin’s new airport opened on 31 October 2020, 24 years after the Schönefeld location was decided upon. Now even BER has overshadowed it. Luanda’s new airport will receive its first passengers in early 2024, almost 27 years after initial plans.

The new airport, located about 40 kilometers southeast of the Angolan capital with a population of twelve million, was officially opened on Friday, November 10, the Angolan Ministry of Transport announced. The airport is named after the country’s first president, Agostino Neto. The government wants to establish an international civil aviation center through the new airport.

15 million passengers annually

The new airport has the capacity to accommodate 15 million passengers annually. The government expects the airport to be used by about ten million foreign citizens every year. The total area is more than 50 square kilometers. The terminal has an area of ​​160,000 square meters and has 94 check-in counters. 34 boarding bridges provide passengers quick access to the aircraft.

The airport has two runways that can be used in parallel. The length of the northern runway is 4,200 metres, while the length of the southern runway is 3,800 metres. Both slopes are 60 meters wide. In addition to passenger traffic, freight business also plays an important role. In the first expansion phase, 130,000 tons of cargo will be handled annually.

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Planning began in 1997

Planning for Luanda Airport began in 1997 after a World Bank study identified the need for a new airport. The feasibility study was completed in 2005. A year later, the government allocated the land for construction. Construction began in 2008 and was supposed to be completed in just 26 months by 2014.

Similar to BER, there have also been several opening dates for the new Luanda Airport. It should only be ready in 2015/2016, then it should open in 2017 at the latest and then in 2020. It is not possible to keep all dates. Construction was halted once in 2009 because Angola could no longer make payments to the Chinese construction company China International Fund. The work was carried out mostly by Chinese workers.

The old airport should be kept as a reserve

Information on construction costs varies. According to the Portuguese newspaper Noticias Diary The Angolan state invested about 2.5 billion euros of public funds in the project. Other sources talk about 5.7 billion euros.

Luanda’s former airport, Cuatro de Fevereiro Airport, will be closed to scheduled traffic in the future, but will continue to handle charter and private flights. In addition, it can also be used by local and global companies for maintenance and training purposes in the future.

Move in by July 2024

With the country’s largest airlines on the move, passenger traffic is scheduled to begin at the beginning of March. By July 2024, all 13 airlines flying to Luanda will follow suit, including TAP, Air France and Lufthansa.

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