Aviation Group announces expansion projects

by Zelalem
  • Mega project awaits PM’s decision

The Ethiopian Airlines Group has announced a double expansion project for Bole International airport in order to resolve the growing air traffic congestion.

The expansion project sees an additional air strip built both inside and outside of the existing Bole International Airport facility to accommodate the growing air traffic turnover and the services of private airline operators in Ethiopia.

The Group disclosed the project during a nine-month performance report presented by the Transport Affairs Standing Committee of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR).

Presenting the report, Henok Tafesse–Deputy CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Group–explained that the national flag carrier has continued its successful performance beating its major contenders in the international market.

He told the committee that “Looking at African operators, most of them have shrunk in the past few years and they are still struggling for survival. We are becoming too big for them to compete, now. We have become one of the top operators globally. Over the past years, our competition is with carriers from the Middle East and Europe. We managed to push back and control a bigger market share in Africa.”

Explaining the growing market share, he said that “in the past nine month we have achieved 127 and 102 percent of our passenger transport and cargo services targets also surpassing overall target for GTP II”.

According to the report, Ethiopian has transported 1.2 million passengers.

In a bid to address the air traffic congestion, Airport Enterprise CEO, Tewodros Dawit, indicated that the Group is preparing to carry out expansions and build an additional air strips in the southern wing of the airport which is under its ownership.

Furthermore, Tewodros disclosed it has requested the Addis Ababa City Administration to secure additional land. This land will be used to build a separate air strip in the east-wing. This would exclusively serve the takeoff and landing of local Private air service operators.

According to Tewodros, the enterprise is awaiting the response of the administration.

“Once we secure the plot, we are ready to build the strip and open it for the private sector that often cry-foul over our airport services, which is experiencing traffic congestion.”

In an exclusive interview given to The Reporter, Tewodros hinted that the enterprise is looking for discussions with the government to resume the mega project it has under feasibility study to build a Mega airport Hub. The project has seen delays due to protest in the country for the past two years.

“The project is huge. It will make Ethiopia owner of world-class airport. We have been evaluating suitable places for construction. We have identified five places and almost know which one we should take on. But, it needs the support of all relevant government institutions including the Prime Minister. We had withheld it for the past two years due to the prevailing instability in the country. Now things are look to be restored to their normalcy. Hence, we hope the new PM will support us to realize this project.”

Regarding other airport facilities that are under construction, the two officials explained the projects progress in various regions across the country. They also indicated that the Enterprise has already undertaken the construction beyond what was planned for the GTP.

However, this did not stop Standing Committee members from urging the enterprise to finalization the delayed construction of these new airports.

The committee particularly singled out airports in Robe, Dembi Dolo and Nekemte which are under construction to be urgently finalized.

It also stated that the construction of new regional airports in Mizan Amman, Yabello, Negele Borena, and Debre Markos should start immediately.

Henok further cited its effectiveness in local flight service providing, global competitiveness, opening of domestic and international destinations, as well as import of modern aircrafts.

It was further noted that during the period, five new international destinations were opened and seven Boeing 787 aircraft imported, according to the Deputy CEO.

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