Ethiopia’s new international airport to be ‘as big as Heathrow’

Ethiopia is set to complete expansion work on Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in 2018 and is planning to commission a new facility to meet rising demand. 

Less than a decade ago, Bole handled fewer than a million passengers a year, but that rose to 7 million in 2014. Passenger numbers are expected to continue increasing by 18% a year. 

China Communication Construction Company is currently working on the $300m expansion to the airport, which started in September 2014. This will raise capacity to an estimated 20 million. 

Hailu Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airports Enterprise project manager for the expension, told Reuters: "We did not expect this growth to happen in eight years. That is why we are undertaking an expansion of the airport that will serve us for the next 15." 

Plans are being made to build another international airport in Ethiopia, one that could serve 70 million a year, which is about equivalent to London Heathrow. 

Gebremariam said: "We have whittled down potential sites from eight to three, all of which are within 60 to 70km from Addis Ababa." 

Once the site is approved and designs and financing are confirmed a new airport might be built within eight years at an estimated cost of $2.5-3bn. 

Photograph: Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (Wikipedia Commons)

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