With the opening of its newly constructed international airport, named after its former President, late Dr Antonio Agostinho Neto, Angola is set to boost Luanda, its capital city, as Africa hub, reports Eturbonews.com. This ambitious development was disclosed by Angola’s Transport Minister, Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu, at the opening of the new airport hub, located in Bom Jesus, 25 miles (40km) southeast of Luanda.
It was built by a major Chinese contractor It’s the largest ever constructed outside of China by the China National Aero-technology International Engineering Corporation, and fully funded by the government of Angola. D’Abreu said the government intends to use the new airport to establish an international civil aviation hub in Luanda to connect Africa to other continents.
“It truly contributes to the development of our region’s economies in a logic of ever greater integration and creation of added value for all,” the minister said. The new airport is estimated to have cost more than $3 billion and has a total area of 1,324 hectares. It has an annual capacity of 15 million passengers and 130,000 tons of cargo. The airport complex include hotels, office buildings, hangars, and shops. The construction of the airportbegan in 2008.
It received its first certification in September after passing landing and take-off tests conducted by Angolan Airlines TAAG in June 2022. Domestic flights are scheduled to begin in February of next year, while international operations will start in June, according to the airport’s operating plan.
“We have just inaugurated and put into service this important infrastructure for the nation and the continent, which will not only serve Angola but also serve as a crucial hub for airport transportation in Africa and the world,” disclosed Angola’s President, Joao Lourenco, during the airport opening ceremony. Recently, Angola passed legislation granting 90-day visa-free stays to nationals of 98 countries, including the United States, Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, and China, for tourism purposes.