Wednesday, October 3, 2012

■ MALI: Renovated runway 06/24 at Bamako-Sénou International Airport handed over to AdM.

Mali GovernmentAt a ceremony held last week and overseen by the Malian Minister of Facilities' Planning, Mamadou Coulibaly, and attended by the Ministers of Defense, Security, Communications, the Minister of Handicrafts and Tourism as well as the Minister responsible for Malians Abroad and African Integration, and various government bureaucrats, the capital Bamako's Sénou International Airport's newly renovated, reinforced and extended runway 06/24, was handed over to  Aéroports du Mali (AdM) for immediate operational use.

The improvements, done at a cost of USD43million, include extending the runway from its original 2'706m to 3'180m to enable it to more comfortably handle large aircraft, along with construction of a ramp, as well as land drainage systems. In its previous state, the runway, even if it technically could handle aircraft the size of Boeing 747s, could not actually do so. As a result of this limitation, operators were not able to fully exploit the runways intended length, thereby forcing restrictions on their loads.

Construction of the runway at Bamako Sénou Airport, Mali
Construction of the runway at Bamako Sénou Airport (MaliWeb
 "The project is part of the opening up and economic development of Mali including air transport with the provision of modern infrastructure and adequate safety standards required by the international community. The overall objective of the project is to make the Bamako airport a clearing-house with appropriate facilities and technical services authorized to conduct effective and efficient airport operations. All things that will enhance the investment potential of Bamako."

Construction was originally slated to have been completed by September 2010, but according to a report from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the joint US/Malian initiative responsible for Sénou's upgrade, the project experienced unspecified difficulties thereby resulting in a two year delay to this part of the project's completion. 

Other aspects of the project involve:
  • Construction of a new passenger terminal and airport roads;
  • Improve water supply and solid waste disposal systems;
  • Replace a portion of the navigational equipment;
  • Reinforce the security system; and strengthen institutions involved in airport operation and maintenance.

Click here to see a video presentation on the airport.

The Malian coup d'état of March 2012 forced the Americans to quit the MCC, but funding for the project is still provided as part of the framework of a grant agreement signed on between Mali and the US Government via the MCC on 13 November 2006, to the tune of USD184million.