FranÃ§ois Hollande, the president of France, took a break from his domestic troubles by travelling to the minuscule French overseas department of Mayotte to open a terminal on Monday.Â
The scheme is located on the southern tip of the island of Petite-Terre, off the coast of Mozambique. It was designed and built by the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin, which has operated the airport since 2011.Â
Mayotte has specialised in the growing of vanilla, but unlike the other French Indian Ocean territory of Réunion it has not attempted to become a tourist destination – generally speaking only French tourists are aware that it exists. That may change, however, now that a significant investment has been made in the island’s infrastructure.Â Â
Work started on the terminal contract 18 months ago and was finished in May. The terminal can accommodate up to 600,000 passengers a year, and could be expanded to process up to 1.2 million in the future.Â
Youssef Sabeh, a senior vice-president of SNC-Lavalin, said: "We’ve been working with French public authorities on major transportation, social infrastructure and urban planning projects for over two decades."Â
SNC-Lavalin manages 15 regional airports in the France, as well as Malta’s airport.