By: Vincent Chappard and Anuradha Deenapanray
The Algerian airport services and infrastructure management company (SGIA) is finalising the new terminal project at Houari Boumediene International Airport in Algiers.
Algeria is entering a new phase in air transport development with operations starting at the new terminal of Houari Boumediene International Airport, south east of Algiers.
With a capacity of 12 million passengers, Algiers will become one of the largest airports in Africa in terms of capacity.
Even though it ranks only 10th in terms of traffic, the airport has registered a constant growth of between 6% and 13% since 2011.
Algiers International Airport is, today, composed of three terminals.
The first is dedicated to international flights, the second to domestic flights, and the third is home to charter flights and low-cost airlines.
The national airline, Air Algérie, serves Africa, Europe, Canada, China and the Middle East from this platform.
Tassili Airlines, a subsidiary of Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation, operates flights to Morocco, Turkey, Spain, France and the UAE.
With constant growth in air traffic, capacity pressure and oncoming saturation forecasts, a development masterplan was launched in 2009 to extend Houari Boumediene International Airport.
The capacity of the airport actually increased from 3.5 million passengers per year to 7.8 million to date. The threshold of 8 million was going to be crossed rapidly.
Measures were, thus, taken to face the new challenges. A short, medium and long-term plan was created to build a new terminal in 2018.
An international call for tenders was launched to carry out the technical studies for the future terminal and group of three design firms – Llywin Davis, Prointec and Brea – was chosen. Work began at the end of 2014.
The Chinese group, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), was selected to build the new terminal.
According to the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Abdelghani Zaalane, the project is estimated to cost around 80 billion DA ($674 million) and requires close coordination between national and foreign companies.
Algerian authorities are also extending the metro line linking El Harrach to the airport. A new train connection will also be provided to facilitate access to the airport as from 2020. The project includes the construction of the main building, the control tower and the rehabilitation of the runway to enable long-haul aircraft (A380) to land at the airport.
Two aircraft stands with three loading bridges will also be provided.
In parallel, work will be carried out on the taxiway and SGIA will provide 33 additional parking spaces for aircraft.
As Arabian Aerospace was going to press, technical tests concerning infrastructure management were being carried out. Teams were conducting flight simulation tests to check the entire system – a crucial step before moving to the operational phase, which will be gradual.
Tahar Allache, director general of SGIA, said Houari Boumediene International Airport aims to become a real hub between Africa and Europe.
This will help Air Algérie create its hub. The national carrier is presently the main operator of this platform alongside Aigle Azur, Air France, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Tunisair and Turkish Airlines. Furthermore, passengers coming from Africa will be able to benefit from connections in Europe.
The current terminal will be refurbished to accommodate companies from Gulf region countries and flights dedicated to Hajj and Umrah.
Terminal 3 will eventually be demolished and SGIA plans to build a new terminal in a new master plan for the coming decades.