Ethiopian Airlines Africa’s largest air carrier has announced via its chief executive officer that it plans to build Africa’s largest airport this year costing $ 5 billion.
The airline chief Tewolde Gebremariam told the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation that the airport could be bigger than France’s Charles de Gaulle, and the construction will start in the next six months.
According to a report by Reuters, Gebremariam was quoted by the Ethiopia News Agency that, the airport, which will cover an area of 35 square km, will be built in Bishoftu, a town 39 km south east of the capital, and have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers a year.
“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,” Tewolde said.
However, the International Trade Administration (ITA) showed that aviation in Ethiopia is a high-growth sector with increasing demand for air transportation, both passenger and cargo, with the sector expanding at an average 20 per cent growth rate.
Further, Ethiopian Airlines which is state-owned, which competes with large Middle East carriers to connect long-haul passengers, has built a patchwork of African routes from its hub in Addis Ababa to fly customers towards expanding Asian markets.
The iconic airline has 116 aircraft in its fleet and its net profit rose to $260 million in its 2018/19 financial year from $207.2 million a year earlier.
Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa has a passenger capacity of about 19 million passengers annually.
Tewolde noted that the price tag of the new airport was higher than the $4 billion cost of building the still-to-be-completed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile, with the projected passenger numbers topping those at Dubai’s international airport.
State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, which competes with large Middle East carriers to connect long-haul passengers, has built a patchwork of African routes from its hub in Addis Ababa to fly customers towards expanding Asian markets.