The state-run Ethiopian Airlines has said it will begin building a $5 billion airport this year that will ultimately accommodate 100 million passengers per year.
The new airport will be located in the town of Bishoftu, 37 miles south of the capital Addis Ababa on 13 square miles of land, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam recently told the state’s Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).
Last year, a new $363 million passenger terminal opened at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport that will allow it to handle up to 22 million passengers, up from its previous capacity of 7 million, Quartz Africa reported.
But even with the expansion, GebreMariam said that a new airport is needed to accommodate the passenger growth Ethiopia is experiencing.
Bole Airport “looks very beautiful and [is] very large but with the growth that we are [witnessing] every year, in about three or four years we are going to be full,” GebreMariam told ENA.
Once the new airport is completed (a projected date has not yet been announced), the new international airport will be able to handle a capacity of 100 million passengers annually—the busiest airport in Africa is currently Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, which welcomed more than 21 million passengers in 2018.
Ethiopian Airlines, which has a fleet of more than 100 planes and serves more than 119 destinations, is on a growing spree. The carrier reported $4 billion in revenue in 2019, when it transported 12 million passengers and 432,000 tons of cargo.
In 2018, Addis Ababa ousted Dubai International Airport as the largest air transport hub between Africa and the rest of the world, Quartz reported. Following a recent expansion, Dubai has a passenger capacity of 90 million, 10 million shy of the capacity planned for the new Ethiopian hub.
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Michelle Baran Michelle Baran is the senior travel news editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, pandemic coverage, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.