New Addis Ababa Airport Will Quadruple Capacity

Addis Ababa airport
Credit: EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP / Getty Images

LONDON—Plans are underway for a new airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which will quadruple capacity from 25 to 100 million passengers per year.

Crucially, the new airport will be situated at a lower altitude compared with Ethiopian Airlines’ existing home hub, which sits at 7,500 ft., making it among the highest in the world. This creates operational challenges for Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet.

Addressing the Aviation Club of the UK on Dec. 5, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Mesfin Tasew said the new airport will pave the way for Ethiopian’s growth strategy.

In the current financial year, which ends in June 2024, Ethiopian is expecting to grow from 13.9 to 18 million passengers. By next summer the terminal and aprons at the existing Addis hub will be expanded to accommodate 25 million passengers.

However, this is the capacity ceiling for the existing site, and Tasew said Ethiopian will hit 25 million passengers over the next few years.

A site has been identified for a new airport, around 38 km (24 mi.) south of Addis Ababa. “The location is decided,” Tasew said. “Now we have reached an understanding to move forward.”

On Dec. 6, Tasew is scheduled to meet with the government to discuss the project, which is expected to cost around $5-6 billion.
He said a construction company will be selected to design, construct and finance the new airport, which will have capacity for 100 million passengers per year—four times the capacity of the existing hub.

“Several construction companies have expressed an interest,” he said.

Ethiopian Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Lemma Yadecha recently told Aviation Daily that the new airport will have four runways. It will be built on an existing site that currently has domestic, cargo and VIP operations, and is expected to open within four years.

Victoria Moores

Victoria Moores joined Air Transport World as our London-based European Editor/Bureau Chief on 18 June 2012. Victoria has nearly 20 years’ aviation industry experience, spanning airline ground operations, analytical, journalism and communications roles.