EAE sets its sights on greenfield construction

06 September 2017

A second airport for Addis Ababa is on the cards

Construction of a new mega-airport outside Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is expected to begin in 2020, Jane’s has learnt from officials involved in the planning for the facility.

Flying to more than half of the destinations in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines has spearheaded passenger growth at Bole International Airport (BIA). It is the leading African airline, seeing profits of USD285 million in the 2015–16 financial year, when few regional rivals have even been able to break even.Tewodros Dawit Berhe, CEO of Ethiopian Airports Enterprise. Source: Peter Shaw-SmithTewodros Dawit Berhe, CEO of Ethiopian Airports Enterprise. Source: Peter Shaw-Smith

“Annual passenger growth has been very fast, around 25–26% on average; growth has been substantial over the past five-six years,” Tewodros Dawit Berhe, CEO of Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE), told Jane’s in an interview in Addis Ababa. “We realised there was a big push from the airline side to expand BIA immediately.”

Berhe described plans for a new airport city. “We had to assess another site for our new greenfield development, which will take us into the far future. It will be a mega-hub for the region and Africa.”

“Bole is limited by many physical constraints to further expand and hence it was decided to identify a suitable site for the new mega airport development. Then we would have a new hub in parallel with the expanded Bole to operate in tandem,” he said.

Greenfield capacity

With expansion to keep abreast of growing passenger and cargo demand at BIA a constant challenge, Ethiopia faces a predicament over how to prioritise the airport development in Addis Ababa. Berhe would not be drawn on the passenger capacity of the new facility, although some estimates describe a figure of 120 million. “In our current plan, we can only serve [an eventual] 22 million passengers a year at BIA. That's the maximum capacity we have. If we can go to the south side, maybe we can add more capacity even at Bole,” he said.

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