A Chinese company has won a $1.2bn contract to build a new international airport in Khartoum.

A subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company will build a runway long enough to handle Airbus A380 aircraft, a passenger terminal, hangar, control tower and other facilities.

“After this project is completed, it will greatly enhance the degree of internationalisation of Sudan’s capital Khartoum and also increase the impact China Communications Construction Company will have in Sudan’s market,” says a statement from the Chinese construction company.

Only about a dozen foreign airlines currently fly into Sudan because of the US-imposed embargo. Sudan also has a poor safety record with the European Union banning all Sudanese airlines from flying to the region.

Beijing is a close ally of Khartoum and has been instrumental in providing infrastructure development.

More than 99 per cent of the votes cast in southern Sudan’s January referendum were in favour of secession from the northern region (MEED 30:1:11).