Banjul International Airport (BJL) in the Republic of The Gambia has been officially opened after the completion of a rehabilitation and development project.

The completion of this project has increased the airport’s operational capacity by 43%.

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) supported the project by providing a loan of $31m.

In addition, SFD offered another $10.5m loan for the construction of a VVIP airport lounge. This can be used to host official delegations and international conferences.

Gambia’s vice-president Dr Isatou Touray and SFD CEO Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Marshad laid the lounge’s foundation stone during the airport opening ceremony.

Sultan bin Abdul Rahman Al-Marshad said: “This is an important milestone in the growth and prosperity of The Gambia. The development of Banjul International Airport is an extension of the ongoing support provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of The Gambia, which includes 14 development loans and five grants with a total value of $215m across transport, education, water and economic development.

“This scheme is just one of over 20 projects the SFD has supported in the air transport sector around the world at a value of $294m, including the construction of runways, provision of engineering consultancy and expansion of navigational services, aimed at stimulating sustainable economic and social growth.”

In addition to the lounge, SFD CEO will lay the foundation for a road project, for which SFD has signed a funding agreement with Gambia’s Government.