After a delay of several years, Angola has just welcomed a new international airport. The Dr. António Agostinho Neto International Airport (AIAAN) will gradually be replacing the old Quatro de Fevereiro Airport (LAD), even though the latter will still be used for certain purposes. With an annual capacity of 15 million passengers, the airport plays an important role in the development of transport and tourism sectors in Angola.
With a price tag of around 3 billion dollars, the new airport and its supporting infrastructure definitely didn’t come cheap. However, the public investment was fully funded by the Angolan government. It is hoped that the concession of the airport’s management, the development of the airport city and the engagement of the private sector will, in time, be able to refund the investment. Located about 40 kilometers from the capital Luanda, AIAAN will be one of the largest airports in Africa by passenger capacity.
“I must emphasize that with this new airport, we intend to create an international civil aviation hub in Luanda, which will play a crucial role in connecting Africa and the other continents”, Angola’s Minister of Transport, Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu, told Simple Flying. “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. Africa needs to be linked to Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Why? Because passengers increasingly need to move and because air transport is increasingly necessary to shorten distances and satisfy the needs of various sectors of the world economy.”
AIAAN counts two asphalt runways and will be able to handle 10 million international and 5 million domestic travellers a year, which will be welcomed in a passenger terminal spanning over 160,000 square meters. Hotels, shops and office buildings are just a few of the infrastructures on site. As far as cargo capacity goes, the airport will handle 130,000 tonnes annually in the first phase, which could be expanded to 440,000 tonnes per year. With such numbers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the government plans to transfer all passenger flights and a lot of cargo flights to the new airport.
“We have had several meetings with various airlines to explain the advantages of this new infrastructure, particularly with the carriers that already operate in Angola, and which will obviously move to the new airport, where they will have the opportunity to provide their services at the level they do in other parts of the world”, Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu added.
At this moment, Angola is connected to 36 destinations in 22 countries and is served by 13 international airlines.
Meanwhile, the old Quatro de Fevereiro Airport will still be kept on. It will remain open for non- commercial air services, such as special and executive jet flights. Furthermore, it could be used for maintenance and training purposes.