January 16, 2020: Ethiopian Airlines will be constructing a new $5 billion airport later this year, Tewolde Gebremariam, group chief executive officer was quoted by Ethiopian News Agency.

The airport, which will cover an area of 35 square kilometres, will be built in Bishoftu, a town 39 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa, and have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers a year. The move is due to the outgrowing capacity at its current base in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

“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,” he said.

Bole International Airport has a passenger capacity of about 19 million passengers annually. Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s largest airline by fleet size and revenue; however, the country’s air infrastructure has not kept pace with its growth.

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.

The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Tewolde as saying construction will start in the next six months. He told that the airport may be bigger than France’s Charles de Gaulle.

A $225 million terminal, funded by China and built by China Communications Construction Company, was completed at Bole in January last year. The Chinese company is presently working on a $138 million project to expand and renovate Terminal 1.

Ethiopian 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.

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