Republic of Congo's president Denis Sassous Nguesso has laid the foundation stone for the modernization and rehabilitation of Maya-Maya international airport, which will be financed by a Chinese bank to the tune of 80 billion CFA francs (about 160 million U.S. dollars).
Speaking Tuesday during the ceremony, Congolese transports and civil aviation minister Emile Ouosso said the airport's face-lift will enable the country to fulfill conditions set several years ago by the international civil aviation organization (OACI), requiring member states to ensure adequate supervision and reinforcement of air transport security.
The airport rehabilitation works will be carried out within 18 months by a consortium of two Congolese companies (SGE Congo), a subsidiary of a French engineering company BCEOM and a Chinese international company for technical and economic cooperation WEIHAI.
The project is divided into two phases the first one being the construction of a second take-off runway of 3,700 meters long by 300 meters wide, while the second one concerns refurbishing the airport, including the construction of a new terminal, installation of an electric power station, aircraft maintenance and parking hangar, an aero club for light aircraft pilot training, and construction of an airport hotel.
The rehabilitation works by WEIHAI totaling more than 80 billion CFA francs fall within an agreement signed in June 2006 between the Republic of Congo and China during the visit to the country by Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao.
The officer in charge of the project Jean Jacques Bouya said the reference of constructing the second runway at Maya-Maya international airport was based on specifications of a fully- loaded Boeing 747 aircraft 400 model, with 285.8 tons while landing and 395 tons while taking-off.
The reference traffic retained consists of seven Boeing 747-400 rotations per week, namely, seven landings and seven take-offs by the aircraft per week, he said.
Brazzaville airport, the largest in the country, was constructed in 1949, and has undergone successive expansions until 1984, and has a 3,300 meter-long and 45 meter-wide runway today (1 U.S. dollar = 475.3 CFA francs).