Ethiopian Airlines Group Airports' Enterprise says the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Expansion Project would have a key role in maintaining and advancing Ethiopian leading position in Africa's aviation industry.
Serving as a hub for both domestic and international flights, the expansion and modernization of Bole Airport is crucial in boosting the Airliner's competitiveness and attracting more passengers, Enterprise CEO Tewodros Dawit tells The Ethiopian Herald.
The overall status of the expansion work which has been executing at the cost of 350 million USD has reached 60 percent, says the CEO adding that the project's civil work is near completion except from some electromechanical systems.
"Upon completion, the expansion project would raise the airport's annual passengers handling capacity from the current 6.7 million to 22 million and enable Ethiopian to offer technologically advanced service that is on a par with world's major airports."
Due attention has been given to further augment the Airline's reputation and integrated efforts are underway to make Bole Airport the aviation hub of the East African region, he adds.
Tewodros notes that the expansion project consisted of three terminals meant to international, domestic and VIP flights. All terminals will be equipped with high-tech and complex electromechanical facilities, baggage lifting equipment and scanners, suspension bridges, parking slots, surveillance cameras among others, he adds.
According to the CEO, agreement has been reached with the main contractor, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to complete the first phase of the project by June 2018.
Stating the expansion work is a short time solution to answer the demand of the Airline's ever-increasing customers, he notes that the Group is studying to build a new hub airport closer to the capital Addis Ababa.
"Taking in to account infrastructure's key role for the realization of Ethiopian Vision 2025, we set a target to build a modern and big airport that would fit the country's status of a middle-income economy in the plan period."
After series of consultations, three sites were shortlisted for the construction of the new airport and they were referred to concerned government agents for approval, the CEO notes.
The expansion of Bole International Airport was commenced in 2015 and set to complete in January 2018. The project takes additional time due to design change and other related issues, it was learnt.