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AERIA, the concessionaire of Abidjan International Airport in which Egis holds a 35% shareholding, has been engaged for several years in developing facilities to increase the capacity of the airport’s aircraft and passengers. Mr. Bernard Cahn, project manager at AERIA, supervised the airside extension work. We asked him to tell us something about this major project.

Tell us more about the runway extension

BC: The main objective of this extension was to increase the airport’s capacity in terms of parking and air traffic. On the first site located in the southern part of the airport, we created ten additional aircraft parking bays. To facilitate the service to the parking bays for the major carriers, including the A380, we also extended the taxiway between the two runway access roads. In the northern sector, we created a taxiway parallel to the runway to improve access to the runway and the flow of air traffic.

How did you plan the operations?

BC: After four months of preparation, the work began at the end of July 2017 and was completed in October 2018. The new parking bays in the south were delivered in mid-March 2018, with a first phase in November to host the African Union-European Union Summit. The taxiway between the two ramps to the runway was put into service in early June 2018. The taxiway parallel to the runway, which was completed with marking equipment provided by ASECNA (an air safety and navigation company), was put into service on 22 October 2018.

How were the operations managed?

BC: The work was entrusted to a consortium composed of Spie Batignolles, Malet, INEO and Franzetti. As a partner operator, Egis supported AERIA in its operations by providing its expertise in key areas of activity. The work supervision was carried out by Egis, and the project management by AERIA.

The work was organised in project mode. A specific organisation, adapted to the coherence and workload was set up. This organization was based on a core group of owners and contractors who worked together in their respective areas of intervention and roles, and in collaboration with all airport stakeholders. The role of the contracting authority was to liaise with the airport’s supervisory authorities, users and operating services, and to allow for validation and decision-making in the work. The supervisors role was to help the project move from design to implementation, by defining the necessary adaptations between the study plans and the field situation. The contractor was responsible for the execution of the work, the application of the contracting authority’s guidelines and the supervisor’s instructions, and the installation of human and material resources for the construction. Weekly meetings were held throughout the operations to ensure proper coordination between the various stakeholders.

Did the operations meet the targets?

BC: Quality, cost and time objectives were met and the work was completed one week ahead of schedule. This advance on the planning reflects the efficiency of the organizations set up. The operations budget was respected, and the reservations made at the reception were lifted in the following weeks. The coordination with ASECNA throughout the work allowed the taxiway parallel to the runway to be put into service in the weeks following the completion of the civil engineering work.

What feedback can be drawn from this project?

BC: Among the success factors, it is important to mention the collaboration between the teams and agencies involved in the project. The project-based organisation made it possible to transform the disruptive effect on the daily life of the airport into a positive effect, by bringing together the actors involved and integrating the project into usual procedures. Concerning the difficulties encountered, as in any project, 20% of the actions concentrate 80% of the difficulties. This 20% of actions must be the subject of particular attention. These include issues directly related to the operation. Indeed, if the infrastructure and pavement structure can be built for several years, the airport’s operation is in continuous movement. The operating equipment, in particular the day and night signals defined during the design studies, must therefore be checked and, if necessary, updated during the construction studies. This implies a strong involvement of the operating departments in the work phase, in relation to work management.

Bernard Cahn, project manager at Abidjan International Airport,
supervised the airside extension work.

Bernard Cahn

Photo: © Myprod / ACI – Egis

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