Chinese Funded Ethiopian Airlines Mega Airport Opens For Passengers

Ethiopian Airlines officially inaugurated its newly-expanded passenger terminal as well as its five-star Skylight Hotel at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) on January 27.

Ethiopian Airlines Airport and Hotel Inauguration
According to Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, African Union Chairperson H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki, Ministers, high-level government officials, Ethiopian Airlines Board Members, Group CEO Ethiopian Airlines Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Executive Management Members, and invited guests attended the inauguration ceremony. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines.

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport

Ethiopian Airlines’ newly-expanded terminal at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport cost approximately $363 million. The Chinese-funded project was completed by China Communications Construction Company.

At the new Ethiopian Airlines terminal, passengers will find self-check-in machines, a self-boarding system, comfortable lounges, as well as restaurants, duty-free shops, and other amenities. The terminal also features the latest technology security systems.

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is Ethiopian Airlines’ main hub. Photo: Wikimedia.

As mentioned by Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, at the inauguration ceremony, “[…] Addis Ababa Airport [has taken] over Dubai as the largest air transport hub between Africa and the rest of the world. [T]his grand terminal building is further evidence of the development of Bole Airport as one of the largest and most convenient global aviation hubs.”

While the airport was able to handle up to 7 million passengers per year in the past, the newly-expanded terminal has tripled the airport’s capacity. It will now be able to accommodate as many as 22 million passengers per year. Just for comparison, Dubai International Airport has an annual capacity of 90 million passengers.

The Skylight Hotel

The contemporary and luxurious Skylight Hotel features 373 guest rooms and executive suites as well as a conference hall for 2,500 people. It is the biggest hotel in Addis Ababa. Moreover, it is the home of the largest Chinese restaurant in Africa.

Skylight Hotel
The five-star Ethiopian Skylight Hotel is located right next to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Photo: PR Newswire.

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines is Ethiopia’s flag carrier and the fastest growing airline in Africa. The airline serves more than 119 international destinations across five continents.

Its current fleet of 108 aircraft consists of

  • 9 Airbus A350-900XWB,
  • 19 Boeing B787-8,
  • 3 Boeing B787-9,
  • 4 Boeing B777-300ER,
  • 6 Boeing B777-200LR,
  • 9 Boeing B767-300ER,
  • 16 Boeing B737-800W,
  • 10 Boeing B737-700NG,
  • 1 Boeing B737-MAX,
  • 23 Bombardier Q400,
  • 6 Boeing B777200LRF (cargo), and
  • 2 Boeing B757-260F (cargo).
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-9
Ethiopian Airlines is the first African operator of the Boeing 787-9. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines.

Additionally, Ethiopian Airlines has a total of 65 aircraft on order, including 15 Airbus A350s, 5 Boeing B787s, 4 Boeing B777s (cargo), 10 Bombardier Q400s, 2 Boeing B737s (cargo), and 29 Boeing B737MAX8s. Accordingly, the airline is planning on expanding the size of its fleet significantly in the near future. The airline has already grown an average of 25% per year in the past seven years.

Evidently, Ethiopian Airlines has big plans for the future. The airline is in the process of implementing “Vision 2025,” a 15-year strategic plan. The goal of the airline is to become the leading aviation group in Africa over the next 15 years. It has already surpassed South African Airways based on revenue and profit.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy undoubtedly has big plans for the airline as well. As a matter of fact, “[He] expect[s] the Board and the Management not to be complacent with the new terminal, but rather to aim for a bigger facility with a capacity to accommodate at least 100 million passengers.”

What do you think of Ethiopian Airlines’ growth plans? Do you think the airline’s growth will be sustainable?