One month ahead of the next Arab League Summit, the Mauritanian Authorities have officially commissioned the new Oumtounsy international airport in Nouakchott on the 23 June. Egis has provided continued and comprehensive support over the project, hence illustrating the multifaceted expertise of the Group in the airport sector, beyond engineering activities.

The new Oumtounsy international airport in Nouakchott, which has been designed and built by Najah for Major Works, is a project of unprecedented scale in the sub-region.

A new gateway to Mauritania, the airport can accommodate wide-body aircraft such as the A380 and the B777 on two runways: a CAT II main runway measuring 11,000ft (3,400m) long and a CAT I secondary runway measuring 7,800ft (2,400m) long.

The airport facility also includes a control tower, a cargo terminal, a technical block, annex buildings designed to optimise airport operations, accommodation for on-call workers, presidential and ministerial pavilions, and a 60,000ft² (18,000m²) passenger terminal with an annual capacity of 2 million passengers, designed and built in compliance with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

During 42 months Egis has provided expertise in the project through the analysis and validation of the shop drawings and through the supervision of the airport construction, planning and equipment works. A focus was particularly put on monitoring the quality and efficiency of works around airport lighting and navigational aids, oil storage, road access, energy supply, security equipment, regional control area, and the buildings and depots of the military area.

The Group has mobilised large teams around many different areas of expertise such as buildings, infrastructure (including pavement, material and geotechnical engineering for roads, and structures), water (including collection, treatment and sanitation), and around airport core facilities such as movement areas, navigational aids, lighting, security, aeronautical equipment and systems.

One of the key challenges of the project consisted in achieving the transfer from the old to the new airport, therefore ensuring operational readiness and successful commissioning. Egis has provided support during this critical phase as well, for example through the production of operational procures, the planning and set-up of tests, or through the airport certification process, and the training of staff who needed to gain knowledge and capabilities for operating the new airport.

The first commercial flight by Turkish Airlines successfully landed at the airport on 23 June. The airport now services around 15 destinations in North Africa and Europe. A new route to Abidjan, a partner airport of the Egis concession network, is planned to open by the end of 2016.