Ethiopian Airlines ambitious trajectory seems not to know any bounds as they have announced plans to build a new international airport “bigger than Charles de Gaulle.” The fruition of this project will see the new airport becoming the biggest in Africa.
It is expected that construction will commence in July this year. The details of the project came to light courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam who revealed the plan to the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. The laudable expansion of Ethiopian Airlines has never known ceasing, and it is the biggest carrier in Africa.
The new airport will cover an area of 35 square km, being built in Bishoftu, a town that is 39 km south east of Addis Ababa. It will have a capacity to handle 100 million passengers every year.
Tewole Gebramariam said, “Bole Airport is not going to accommodate us; we have a beautiful expansion project. The airport looks very beautiful and very large but with the way that we are growing, in about three or four years we are going to be full.”
As it stands, Bole International Airport has a capacity to handle 19 million passengers annually. The new airport is also expected to significantly reduce congestion at Bole. The rapid growth of Ethiopian Airlines, being the largest airline in Africa by fleet size and revenue, has not kept up with the air infrastructure.
Tewolde also said that the total cost of the new airport will surpass that of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is pegged at $4 billion. Even the projected passenger numbers will top those at Dubai’s international airport.
Infrastructural development on a grand scale seems to the order in Ethiopia, with even more projects lined up in the future. Last year, a $225 million terminal was completed at Bole International Airport in collaboration with China. The terminal was built by China Communications Construction Company. It has 28 check-in counters and 7 gates.
Ethiopian Airlines has 116 aircraft in its fleet and its net profit surged to “$260 million in its 2018/19 financial year from $207.2 million a year earlier.”