Construction of a new $530-million airport in Senegal is under way but behind schedule as the country attempts to turn itself into a leading business hub in West Africa.

The Blaise Diagne International Airport project, fronted by the joint venture Aéroport International Blaise Diagne (Aibd SA), is being constructed by Saudi-based Binladin Group in partnership with Dar Al-Handasah in Diass, 40 kilometers south of Dakar, the capital. On completion, the new airport will accommodate 25,000 passenger planes annually and alleviate congestion at Senegal's current biggest airport, Léopold Sédar Senghor International, north of Dakar.

The two-phase design-build contract, funded by the African, French and Islamic development banks, involves construction of two runways for air traffic that will serve up to 10 million passengers per year. The project's construction schedule originally called for completion by the end of 2011, but project officials have released no information regarding the reasons for the delay or the revised schedule.