At the Airport and Infrastructures and MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul) conference held at the UNECA conference center on September 22-24, the Ethiopian Minister of Transport, Workneh Gebeyehu, said that Ethiopia is to break ground for a new mega hub airport in the vicinity of Addis Ababa. “The new mega hub will move the aviation industry in Ethiopia to a higher level.” When completed the new mega airport will have the capacity to handle 120 million passengers a year.
“It will make Addis Ababa the aviation hub of Africa. The new airport will be the second mega project in the country (next to the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam)”, Workneh said.
The Ethiopian Airport Enterprise has hired a French consultancy firm, ADPI, that undertakes the study on new mega hub airport construction. The enterprise plans to build an airport city. ADPI has been working on the site location for the past one year.
CEO of the Ethiopian Airport Enterprise, Tewodros Dawit, told The Reporter that previously ADPI had selected eight locations as possible construction site. After conducting a thorough detailed technical study and analysis, ADPI proposed three locations– Abusera locality near Akaki town, Alem Tena, near Modjo town and Tefki, a small town on Jimma road.
Tewodros told The Reporter that ADPI recently submitted the report to the Ethiopian Airport Enterprise. After evaluating the report, the enterprise presented the report to the Ministry of Transport. According to Tewodros, the ministry will organize a consultative meeting with all stakeholders and arrive at a decision. “After holding adequate deliberations and evaluating the proposed locations the government will make a final decision.”
The new mega international airport will have the capacity to handle more than 100 million passengers a year. The airport will have four runways and a number of passenger terminals. It will be built phase by phase. Though the total cost of the construction is yet to be determined after detailed engineering cost analysis, the cost of the project is estimated at around four billion dollars.
“It is not only a runway and terminal that we are going to build. It is going to be an airport city. An airport and many other required facilities,” Tewodros said. The airport city project may include, among others, hotels, shopping malls, office buildings and apartments. “The airport city will make Ethiopia an aviation hub in the whole region,” Tewodros said. Experts say the new airport will be on par with Dubai and Heathrow international airports.
According to the CEO, a final decision on the site location will be made within a month. He said the cornerstone will be laid next year. “The plan is to start construction within two years. The whole project may take ten years.”
According to Tewodros, the airport master plan study is being conducted. “The next step would be gathering inputs, searching for partners and undertaking other necessary pre-construction work.”
The new mega international hub is expected to serve the nation for the coming 100 years. “So we need to plan and execute the project painstakingly.”
Spurred by the fast economic growth the country is registering, the demand for air travel in Ethiopia is growing. The national flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which is growing fast, is expanding its route network in Ethiopia as well as around the globe. More international airlines are coming to Addis Ababa. This has necessitated expansion of the existing airports in Addis Ababa as well as in the regional towns.