- New mega airport city project awaits government’s decision
Ethiopian Airports has floated an international tender inviting construction firms to undertake ramp expansion work at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.
The Addis Ababa Bole International Airport ramp can accommodate 53 aircraft at time. Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam on Wednesday said that the fast growing airline is acquiring two aircraft every month. Tewolde said that the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is unable to cope with the fast growth of the airline. “The airport is surrounded by the city and finding a space for expansion is a challenge,” he said.
Tewodros Dawit, CEO Ethiopian Airports, told The Reporter that Ethiopian Airports put up a tender two weeks ago that would enable it to select a reputable construction firm which can expand the existing ramp. The existing ramp can accommodate 53 aircraft at a time and with the planned expansion Ethiopian Airports hopes to accommodate additional 10 aircraft.
The tender will remain open for 45 days. The bid includes the design and construction of the new ramp. Chinese and European construction firms are buying the bid documents. Tewodros said that the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has two runways. “We use the first one for taxi way and the second one for take-off and landing. Currently we are resurfacing the second one and using the first runway for landing and take-off.”
According to Tewodros there may be a need to build additional ramp at the back of the airport where there is limited space. “We may have to build a ramp which can accommodate additional five or ten aircraft,” he said.
Operators have been complaining that the Addis Ababa airport runway is congested and demand for the construction of a third runway. Tewolde told The Reporter that a study on the construction of a third runway is underway.
Tewodros said that since there is a plan to build a mega airport city outside of Addis Ababa Ethiopian Airports cannot afford to make huge investment at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. “The airline is growing very fast. To accommodate the fast growth of the airline we have to expand the Addis Ababa Airport. Until we build and move to the new airport we have to make some investment but we have to be very cautious not make too much investment because eventually we will move to the new international hub.”
According to Tewodros build a third runway there a lot of landfill work has to be done as there are open pits in the other side of the airport-the only available place to expand. “We have to make sure that if that huge cost is justified considering that we will not stay here for long. After few years the major operation of the airport will be relocated to the mega hub.”
Ethiopian Airports is expanding the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport passenger terminal at a cost of 345 million dollars. Tewolde said that the expansion work has been delayed for various reasons but as of late it is being expedited.
The contractor, China Communication and Construction Company (CCCC), commenced work on the project in December 2015 and completion was originally slotted for January 2018.
Tewodors told The Reporter that Ethiopian Airports is asking the contractor to handover the first phase of the project (east side of the terminal) in June 2018. “Due to changes made in the design based on our demands the project has been delayed. Under the revised plan, the completion date is slated for January 2019,” he said.
In a related news, the Airport City development project is waiting the government’s decision on site location. The French consulting firm, ADPI, has conducted a study on site location and proposed ten locations in 100 km radius out of Addis Ababa. Three sites have been proposed for final decision for the government. “We are waiting for the government’s decision,” Tewodros said.
The Addis Ababa Bole International Airport was built in the 1960s when Ethiopian Airlines joined the jet age by introducing jet aircraft (Boeing B720) in Africa.