The New Bole International Airport Terminal Due to Open in May 2001

(March 2001 - EOW)

The $130 Million (1.05 Billion Birr) Bole International Airport Expansion Project is entering its last phase with the completion of the new runway and the terminal building. 

Artist's Conception of the New Bole Terminal Building

This major expansion project that has been in the plans since the early 80's is hoped to help establish Addis Ababa firmly as the aviation capital of Africa. The improved Bole International Airport will have a 12-fold increase in capacity to handle 6-7 million passengers a year up from its current capacity of a mere 500,000 passengers a year. 

The three-phase expansion project consisted of a new 3.8 kilometer runway, a new 2-story international terminal building and a control tower.

The new runway is designed to handle B747 and Airbus A-340. The new runway that runs parallel to the existing runway consists of 5 entrances and exit to the old runway that will now serve as a taxi way. This part of the project is estimated to have cost up to $30 million with Dar-al Handasah, a Lebanese company as a consultant and Kajma Keanganam, a joint Korean and Japanese company as the contractor. 

The new terminal building that consists of a parking garage, a shopping complex and restaurants is mainly a steel structure and is estimated to have cost about $75 million. The contractor is a Kuwaiti company. A British firm, Fitchner, is in-charge of the project management.

Another $30 million will go to the construction of the control tower and installation of electrical and fire-fighting equipment. The contractor for this phase of the project is a German company. 

Major financers for this huge project included: the African Development Bank, the Arab Development Bank, OPEC, Nordic Development Fund and the Ethiopian government. It was also learnt that only 1 or 2 Ethiopian engineering firms were involved in design and construction in parts of this project. The issue of why more local engineering and contracting firms were not represented has been raised by Addis engineers and contracting firms. 

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines, the national carrier is extending its wings to newer destinations such as the Nordic countries. Observers have commented that the North-America route the airlines entered a few years ago only has already established it as a very competitive carrier not only for Ethiopian but also passengers from other parts of Africa, the Gulf and the Indian sub-continent. The completion of the whole project could not have come at a better time for the airlines as it helps establish Addis Ababa a major international air hub.


Copyright 2001 EthCITA_SKK. Photo Credit to BK (B767)