A Northern Ireland company has won an £8m contract starting next month to redevelop an airport in Sierra Leone.
Lagan Construction will carry out a complete refurbishment of the airside infrastructure of Freetown Lungi International Airport, which was previously a UK Royal Air Force station.
The airport handles most international and domestic flights in and out of Sierra Leone.
Lagan’s international division will deliver the project, which it said would entail resurfacing the main bituminous runway, and widening turning loops and Charlie and Delta taxiway accesses, by reconstruction and reprofiling the existing bituminous shoulders.
Aircraft holding positions will be relocated and new runway hold signs and |markings provided.
Lagan was awarded the contract by the Government of Sierra Leone, part-funded by the World Bank. Work is due to start next month and will continue until January.
The project is Lagan’s first in Africa. The company said it marked an early success in the expansion of its operations into the African sub-continent.
Colin Loughran, managing director of Lagan Construction’s international operations, said:
“We are delighted to win this high-profile project in Sierra Leone, where we see a positive working environment and the opportunity for our specialist teams to make a real difference.
“This award underlines our success in delivering first class airport projects both in the UK and worldwide.”
He said he hoped the airport work would open new opportunities in Sierra Leone. “It is a developing market since the civil war ended.
“They are getting themselves organised for development and have funding from international development agencies. We expect there will also be opportunities in its ports and as it improves, its road links.”
Mr Loughran said the company would bring its own people to work on the contract initially, but would train people from the area before leaving.
Lagan Construction specialises in airport revamps. It is carrying out a £105m scheme at the new Benazir Bhutto International Airport at Islamabad, Pakistan, as well as projects at Bermuda International Airport, Heathrow Terminal Five, Aberdeen Airport, London Luton Airport and the new Newquay Cornwall Airport.
The business is part of Lagan Holdings, which employs 1,000 people in Ireland, the UK and abroad, in particular, in the Caribbean.