Djibouti is home to several airports, one of them being an international one. Because Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport is located within the city and cannot be expanded, two new international airports began construction in January 2015, one on the 19th and the other a day later.
The first airport is the Al Haj Hassan Gouled Aptidon International Airport & Cargo Village, located in Bicidley. Once operational, it is expected to serve 1.5 million passengers and 100,000 tons of air cargo a year by 2018. The Bicidley area is located about 25 kilometers south-west of the Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport. Forty-six square kilometers were reserved for long-term expansion, and the airfield geometry was planned so that the airport can accommodate all modern aircraft, including larger jet airliners such as the gigantic Airbus A380.
The second airport is the Al Haj Ahmed Dini Ahmed International Airport. It is located in the northernmost region of Djibouti, Obock, and more precisely on the Ras Siyan peninsula. It is next to the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, where the Archipelago of the Seven Brothers is located. The location of the Al Haj Ahmed Dini Ahmed International Airport was decided with the aim of dedicating this airport to tourism activities. As such, it is expected to handle 350,000 passengers during its first year of operation in 2016, and over 760,400 passengers per year by 2021. It will also be equipped with a 3-kilometre long, 60-metre wide runaway, allowing the airport to accommodate a wide range of aircraft.
In May 2015, the government of Djibouti decided to resume activities of the nation’s flag carrier, Created in 1962, Air Djibouti was one of the first African airlines, and was in operation until 2002. The airline, which currently owns five aircraft, is now scheduled to resume its cargo freight operations, with plans to resume passenger flights in the future as well, notably to connect London and Djibouti. To support Air Djibouti operations in Europe, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the company and Cardiff Aviation. Djibouti aims to enhance its sea-air freight synergies even further.
Djibouti aims to be a regional logistics hub, and as such, it is efficiently connected with neighboring countries.
Several railways are planned, linking Djibouti to Ethiopia and South Sudan in particular. The Tadjourah-Weldia-Mekele railway is one such critical continental corridor, linking Djibouti with the north of Ethiopia, including the potassium extraction site to the Tadjourah ore port.
Another Djibouti-Ethiopia link will connect both capitals, Djibouti and Addis Ababa. The construction of the railway is complete, and the line is expected to be operational in October 2015 and be the first step to the development of two railway lines. The first will connect Djibouti to the Atlantic Ocean through South Sudan, Central African Republic and Cameroon; the second, called Trans-African Railway Network, will link Djibouti to Dakar through Lagos. By connecting East Africa to West Africa, and the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, these lines are predicted to revolutionize world trade.
Since the partition of Sudan, Djibouti is also looking to become South Sudan’s outlet to the sea, much like it is Ethiopia’s. In February 2012, the three countries signed a cooperation agreement for the development of infrastructure such as telecommunications, transport and pipelines. Later that year, the South Soudan-Ethiopia-Djibouti (SSED) pipeline construction project agreement was signed in Addis Ababa, allowing South Sudan and Ethiopia to export their crude oil and gas via Djibouti.
Djibouti’s government is currently conducting negotiations to build a refinery, allowing Djibouti to import oil from South Sudan and the Gulf countries and sell processed, finished products in East Africa.
Another construction project in discussion is the bridge of the Horns, a 29-kilometre long bridge that would connect Djibouti to Yemen over the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. Six road lanes and four railway lines on the bridge will allow 100,000 vehicles and 50,000 rail passengers to cross the bridge daily. The bridge will also support a water and a LNG pipeline.