Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will spend at least $5 billion (Ksh500 billion) in the construction of a new airport later this year.
According to Ethiopian media, the airport will cover an area of 35 square kilometres and will be built in Bishoftu, a town 39 km south east of Addis Ababa, and will have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers a year.
“Bole Airport is not going to accommodate us; we have a beautiful expansion project. The airport looks very beautiful and very large but with the way that we are growing, in about three or four years we are going to be full,” said Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.
The new airport is set to out-compete Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa which has a passenger capacity of about 19 million passengers annually.
O. R. Tambo International Airport in South Africa is Africa’s busiest airport, with a capacity to handle up to 28 million passengers annually.
It is not yet clear who will fund the project that threatens to dwarf all African airports.
Ethipian Airlines currently has 116 aircraft in its fleet and its net profit rose to $260 million (Ksh26 billion) in its 2018/19 financial year from $207.2 million (Ksh21 billion) a year earlier.
It is currently the largest airline in Africa.