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Ethiopia to build largest Airport in Africa

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Plans for the largest airport in Africa first announced in 2020 continue to be on the back burner two years later. The project site was identified in Bishoftu which is locate 38 kilometers from Addis Ababa. Ethiopian Airlines Group(EAG) has twice issued Requests for Proposals but the response has not been enthusiastic causing EAG to return to the drawing board. A new proposal is expected once a review of its masterplan is done

Back in 2020 Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam revealed the ambitious plan. Reportedly, the airport will be the largest of its kind in Africa. It will have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers every year.

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The airport will be built on 35 square kilometers piece of land at a lower elevation. The airport is expected to reduce jet fuel consumption and enable flights of a greater distance. This is mainly because of the lower elevation.

Development of the new US $5bn airport in Bishoftu, Ethiopia

Aéroports de Paris Ingénierie (ADPI), a French airport engineering and design firm, completed a feasibility study for the proposed new US $5bn airport in Bishoftu. Reportedly, the study included identifying the project site in Bishoftu, 50 kilometers from Addis Ababa.

In early 2021, Ethiopian Airlines floated a request for proposal (RFP) to hire engineering, design, and project supervision consulting firm. The firm, therefore, would conduct design reviews, define the requirements of the airport, and prepare tender documents for securing the airport development contractor. Moreover, the firm would carry out bid evaluation and supervision of the development of the new US $5bn airport in Bishoftu.

Also Read: Construction of 150 Footbridges & 230 Miles of Feeder Pathways in Ethiopia Underway

Eventually, the airline received only two qualified proposals in response to the RFP. One of the responses came from a consortium led by a U.S. engineering firm. The second one came from a Lebanese design firm with U.S. subsidiaries.  However, Ethiopian Airlines decided to retender the RFP. It, therefore, made some adjustments to the RFP and refloated it. The new closing date for submission of proposals was set on August 20, 2021. After all, the same two bidders responded to the second RFP.

The Ethiopian Airlines management decided to thoroughly review the master plan as well as the RFP before releasing the third tender. In addition, the airport noted that it is open to operating and ownership models for the US $5bn airport in Bishoftu. These include the build, operate, and transfer (BOT) model and the public-private partnership (PPP) model.  However, regardless of the operating and ownership model, the successful bidder will be expected to offer financing options.

Expectations for the US $5bn airport in Bishoftu

The new airport to be the largest in Africa is set to relieve pressure at the Bole Airport.  As it stands, Bole International Airport has the capacity to handle 19 million passengers annually. The rapid growth of Ethiopian Airlines, being the largest airline in Africa by fleet size and revenue, has not kept up with the air infrastructure.

Ethiopian Airlines is Ethiopia’s flag carrier and is wholly owned by the country’s government. It was founded on 21 December 1945 and commenced operations on 8 April 1946, expanding to international flights in 1951.

The firm became a share company in 1965 and changed its name from Ethiopian Air Lines to Ethiopian Airlines. The airline has been a member of the International Air Transport Association since 1959 and of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) since 1968.

Its hub and headquarters are at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, from where it serves a network of 125 passenger destinations; 20 of them domestic and 44 freighter destinations. The airline has secondary hubs in Togo and Malawi.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Despite the gossips behind the CEO , but for me no concrete evidence , this man is no doubt industrious,farsighted, self confident and energetic . I always follow his track record of what he has achieved , specially after I listened his interview with Sheger Radio.
    I like him and appreciate him. Even if the ours are correct I still like and respect him, because what Ethiopia needs at the moment at mist is people who work like him instead of chating all rubbish things which will not bring even s can’t.

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