Ethiopian Airlines announces plans for new $5 billion airport

An Ethiopian Airlines plane waits to take off from the Bole International Airport in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopian Airlines will start constructing a new $5 billion airport later this year, as the rapidly-expanding carrier outgrows capacity at its current base in Addis Ababa.

Photo by Getty Images

The airport will be built in Bishoftu, a town 39 km southeast of the capital. The proposed facility will cover an area of 35 square miles and have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers a year, the state-run Ethiopian News Agency quoted CEO Tewolde Gebremariam as saying. That projected number would place the new airport among the world’s five busiest airports.

Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, EA’s current base of operations,  has a passenger capacity of about 19 million passengers annually.

“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.

He did not give details of how the construction would be funded, nor who would build the new airport.

The Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Tewolde as saying construction will start in the next six months.

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.

It 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.