Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE) got the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) certification for Bole International Airport two weeks ago.
This makes the airport one of the few in Africa to have the ICAO certificate. Up until 2008 no airport in Africa had it. By 2011 Nigeria reported to have two of its four major airports ready to apply for the certification. At this moment, however, according to an official at EAE, only one other airport in South Africa has been certified.
The ICAO, a specialised UN agency, headquartered in Quebec, Canada, codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.
EAE had to train its employees and acquire new technology to meet the Agency’s requirements for the certificate, according to the official. EAE bought and installed a seven million Birr runaway swipe machine four months ago. This is a magnetic machine which clears metal objects and other materials from the runway. It also installed 1.5 million-Br computer-based training (CBT) software on eight compatible computers at Bole International Airport. This software automatically notifies security employees when they manage to identify security hazards within three seconds. EAE acquired the software from a British company, which it selected from 20 international bidders, according to the official.
Following the installation of this software, seven employees have been qualified for hazard identification using the three different scanners at the airport: X-ray, walkthrough, and explosive detecting system (EDS).
EAE has 17 airports, including Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, and Mekele, which round out its list of four international airports. An 18th one in Kombolcha, Wello, Amhara Regional State, is nearly completed.