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UPDATE 2-Air traffic controllers end strike at new Senegal airport
December 15, 2017 / 7:32 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Air traffic controllers end strike at new Senegal airport

(New throughout, adds strike ended)

DAKAR, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Air traffic controllers ended a strike at Senegal’s main airport on Friday, a union leader said, after shutting it down for most of the day over demands for more training and transportation stipends.

The government says the new $680 million airport, which was inaugurated on Dec. 7, will help make Senegal a transport hub in West Africa and boost the tourism sector.

But air traffic controllers complained that they had not been adequately trained to work at the new facility before it opened and said they launched their walkout “for people’s security”.

They also wanted increased stipends for employees’ transport to the airport, which lies some 45 km (28 miles) outside the city centre.

Late on Friday, however, Mame Alioune Sene, the president of the union representing the workers, said that it was suspending the strike.

“Our decision was motivated by security issues. We think that the authorities have understood,” he said. “We’re going back to work to allow planes to take off and land.”

Sene did not say if the workers’ specific demands had been met.

The airport is Senegal’s busiest and is used by international carriers including Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Iberia, South African Airways, TAP Portugal and Kenya Airways.

An airport management official said the strike meant around 30 flights serving some 5,000 passengers had to be cancelled or delayed.

The airport is Senegal’s busiest and is used by international carriers including Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Iberia, South African Airways, TAP Portugal and Kenya Airways.

Senegal, a fish and peanut exporter, is looking to take advantage of its reputation for political stability to expand tourism to its extensive Atlantic coastline.

Last year, the country launched a new national carrier, Air Senegal, which ordered two new Airbus A330 jets last month. (Reporting By Diadie Ba; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Joe Bavier, William Maclean and David Gregorio)

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