Hawassa Airport to commence operation
The Hawassa International Airport, which is under construction at a cost of 457 million birr, will soon commence operation.
The Ethiopian Airports Enterprise began the construction 14 months ago. The project includes the construction of 3 km asphalt runway, taxiway, apron and passenger terminal. Yotek Construction Plc, an indigenous private construction firm is undertaking the project.
The Ethiopian Airports Enterprise Communications Affairs Head, Wondim Teklu, told The Reporter that the runway is a 3 km long asphalt concrete. “A two km runway construction has been completed. The remaining one km first layer has been laid. It will soon be completed and it will be open to traffic,” Wondim said.
It will take two month to finalize the construction of the runway. “The runway will be able to accommodate giant aircraft as big as Boeing B777 jetliner when it is fully completed,” Wondim said.
However, Ethiopian Airlines is under preparation to launch scheduled flight service to Hawassa Airport in the middle of this month. Hanna Atnafu, Ethiopian Corporate Communications Manager, told The Reporter that Ethiopian will launch four weekly flights between Addis Ababa and Hawassa as of April 15 (tentative plan). Hanna said Ethiopian will deploy its Bombardier Q400 turbo prop aircraft on the new route.
Hawassa is the seat of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State. Located 273 km south of Addis Ababa on the shore of Lake Hawassa, the town is known for its fancy resort hotels. With close proximity to the hot springs of Wondo Genet and Langano beaches, the town is a major tourist attraction in the south.
Wondim said that the Hawassa Airport will provide cargo flight services. “Hawassa is one of the 11 agro industry zones selected by the government. An industrial park has been built in the city. So, beyond passenger flight services, the airport will accommodate cargo flights. The economic development in the region was taken into account,” Wondim said.
In addition to the scheduled flight services of Ethiopian, the small local private airlines are eager to render charter flight services to Hawassa. “Due to the high demand for an air travel service to the region, the airport will be partially operational,” Wondim said.
According to Wondim, the EAE will embark on the construction of the passenger terminal. The enterprise will float a tender inviting contactors that will build the terminal.
EAE administers 20 airports, out of which 14 are asphalted. Four of the airports are international - Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Mekele and Bahir Dar.
Currently, the enterprise is undertaking the construction of five regional airports - Hawassa, Semera, Jinka, Shire, and Robe. It is also finalizing preparations to build a new airport in Nekemte town, in East Wollega, in the Oromiya Regional State.