A look at Ethiopia's newly expanded Bole International Airport

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Ethiopia’s capital is set to cement its place as Africa’s leading aviation hub with an expanded airport terminal which triples it passenger capacity. Ethiopia’s capital is set to cement its place as Africa’s leading aviation hub with an expanded airport terminal which triples it passenger capacity.

Ethiopia’s capital is set to cement its place as Africa’s leading aviation hub with an expanded airport terminal which triples it passenger capacity.

The biggest airport aviation hub in Africa - larger than Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport - is now ready for use.

Addis Ababa last year overtook Dubai as the leading gateway to Africa, according to travel intelligence agency ForwardKeys.

The terminal comes equipped with modern amenities including automated bag drop solutions, e-gates, self-check-in kiosks, baggage handling and the latest airport security technologies.

In January, prime minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurated the newly-expanded terminal of the Bole International Airport, the main hub of Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa.

The project, which was funded and built by China for $33 million, triple the airport’s size and can now accommodate up to 22 million passengers annually from its current 7 million.

The terminal and a new luxury hotel are a great boost for the state carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan aimed at becoming Africa’s leading airline group.

Founded 74 years ago, the airline has an operating fleet of 111 planes and currently flies to more than 119 international passenger and cargo destinations, with over 61 of those in Africa alone.

Ethiopian Airlines has also strategically invested across Africa, making deals to revive defunct airlines, setting up hubs in countries including Togo, and partnering with airlines in Malawi, Chad, and Mozambique.

As the Horn of Africa nation relaxes its visa regime, the carrier also developed schemes to help both African and global travelers process their visas faster and explore the country’s tourism sector.

Yet with all these distinctions, passengers had continued to complain about the amenities at Bole airport, highlighting the scarcity of retail outlets or seating spaces, especially when many flights were leaving at the same time. Ethiopian carried over 8.7 million customers during the 2016/17 year, many of whom had a minimum layover in Addis Ababa.

As Ethiopian grew to be Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit, its Addis Ababa hub also didn’t feature among Africa’s best airports. That distinction last year went to Casablanca’s Mohammed V airport followed by Mauritius’s main airport and then Durban, according to the Airports Council International.


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