Africa

Senegal air traffic control strike at new Dakar airport

Senegal's President Macky Sall (C) is watched by his wife Marieme Faye Sall (R) and regional leaders as he cuts a ceremonial ribbon at the opening ceremony for the new Blaise Diagne International Airport - 7 December Image copyright AFP
Image caption The airport was opened by the Senegalese president last week

Flights at the new Dakar international airport in Senegal have been disrupted by an air traffic controllers' strike, just a week after it opened.

The 24-hour strike, which began at midnight GMT on Thursday, is about working conditions. Hundreds of passengers have been affected.

Several flights have been cancelled, others were re-routed to The Gambia.

The Blaise Diagne International Airport cost more than $600m (£450m) to build, replacing an ageing facility.

The government hopes that the new airport will boost economic growth, especially tourism, and become a regional hub for West Africa.

Trade union leader Paul Francois Gomis told the BBC that staff wanted compensation for long travel times to the airport, which is 50km (30 miles) from the capital, halfway between Dakar and Senegal's main beach resorts.

Mr Gomis also said that the 60 air traffic controllers had not been trained in the use of new equipment in the new control tower.

Image caption Hundreds of passengers have been stranded

Sane Op Debeeke told the BBC she was waiting for a flight to Brussels:

"There is no information. That's the worst part. We would like to know when the strike will end. Then we can decide what to do next. My parents back home are worried."

Image caption Sane Op Debeeke says her parents are worried about her
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Media captionSenegal's new airport is 50km from the capital Dakar - why?