Wednesday, July 3, 2013

■ DJIBOUTI: Government looking for partners for planned new USD600million pax/cargo transit hub.

Djibouti flagDjibouti has announced that it is seeking partners to help in building a proposed new USD600million airport situated in a 225 km² area south-west of Djibouti City, set to replace the near 60 year old Ambouli International Airport. The government plans to combine the country's sea-cargo facilities with the air terminal to offer a unique regional air/sea cargo and passenger transit hub that will help transform the Horn of African nation's economy.

According to AirCargoWorld, Djibouti is currently looking for partners to aide the country in its ambitious plans which, it hopes once complete in 2017, will entice air carriers and logistics specialists to come and do business. 

Among the basic details about the project that have thus far been made available are that it will be divided into two phases of development. In Phase 1, a 2'800m long runway will be built allowing for non-stop direct flights to Africa's and Europe's capitals. In Phase 2 the runway length will be increased to 3'600m thereby allowing for destinations further afield to be served (Far East, the US etc). 

A passenger terminal capable of handling 2 million passengers along with a Cargo Terminal, State Ceremonial and VIP Terminal will also be built.

Rendering of the planned new Djibouti Airport
Rendering of the planned new Djibouti Airport (DjiboutiNet)
In an interview with AirCargoWorld, Mr. Moussa Houseein Doualeh, the air operations manager of Ambouli International, said the ultimate aim would be to develop Djibouti's sea-air cargo model making use of the country's recently opened Doraleh Container Terminal, set to accommodate three million containers per year by 2015. Port officials say this expansion will make the port the largest container terminal on the continent.

Doraleh is the fifth largest container port in Africa and together with the new airport aviation officials officials envision the "development of a sea-air cargo model where products arrive at the Doraleh Container Terminal and are transported to the airport for flights into Africa’s interior."
Come to Djibouti instead of Dubai,” Doualeh says. “We want to develop a sea-air model and see how we can fit and connect with the landlocked countries in Africa. We want to find partners to bring shipments from the Far East to Djibouti and dispatch them to the landlocked countries.
Ambouli's current facilities are insufficient to handle large scale operations, given that it also shares its sole runway, 09/27, with Camp Lemonnier, a United States Naval Expeditionary Base.

This year, a 370sqm warehouse with cold storage capabilities is planned to open 

Thus far, Emirates (EK), Etihad Airways (EY) and DHL have all been approached regarding the launch of operations out of Djibouti, which government has sweetened with reduced rates for landings and handling for the first six months. Thus far, only Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has committed with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently inked with Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport regarding the transport of goods using both  sea-air and air-sea means throughout the Horn of Africa.