Ethiopia has proved its worth as the gateway to Africa after expanding the terminal of the Bole International Airport – making it the biggest in Africa – which can host 22 million passengers annually from its current 7 million.
Funded and built by China for $363 million on 74,000 square meters of land, the state-of-the-art airport terminal was inaugurated by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the help of African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Jan. 27.
The airport, which is the main hub of state carrier Ethiopian Airlines, was complemented with a $65 million 5-star Skylight Hotel which is only five minutes drive away. Equipped with 373 rooms, 4 restaurants, banquet hall and other facilities built on a 40,000 square meters of land, the luxury hotel was built by Ethiopian Airlines.
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The PM called on the staff members of the airline to assume ownership of the state carrier by buying into shares of the airline. He also challenged the airline to build its planned international airport in Bishoftu, Oromia regional state, approximately 48 km southeast of the capital Addis Ababa. The new airport, if completed, will have the capacity to accommodate more than 80 million passengers per year.
Now Africa’s biggest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines operates 111 planes and currently flies to more than 119 international passenger and cargo destinations, with over 61 of those in Africa alone.
It has secondary hubs in Togo and Malawi, and has resuscitated non-operational airlines including Zambia’s, and also collaborated with airlines in Chad and Mozambique.
The multi-award winning airline, with its modernized fleet, new aircraft maintenance hangars, and world-class in-flight catering facility has over the years experienced rapid growth, increased profitability, and made an outstanding contribution to aviation development in Africa, registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.
Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will make it the leading aviation group in Africa with six business centres: Ethiopian International Services; Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services; Ethiopian MRO Services; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian ADD Hub Ground Services and Ethiopian Airports Services. The plan is to also improve the carrier’s cargo transport, airport services, expand its aviation school and passenger handling.
Founded in 1945 by Emperor Haile Selassie, Ethiopian Airlines is one of a few profitable national carriers operating in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a member of the Star Alliance and one of the fastest-growing airlines in the global aviation industry.
In 2016, the airline reported a net profit of $265 million. The results reflected an 18 percent increase in passenger numbers over the year.