The last week of January 2019 was considered one of the most important of the history of Ethiopian Airlines, one of the main airline companies in Africa. The company inaugurated a new passenger terminal at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, administered by the company, as well as a luxury hotel. These initiatives are part of Ethiopian Airlines Group´s strategic plan, that intends to make itself the main African airline company in the next 15 years.
The construction project to expand the Bole Airport began in 2015 at a cost of US$ 35 million dollars and was funded by China. This is going to make it capable to serve an annual flow of 22 million passengers, and thereby triple the current capacity. The new passenger terminal will feature the most up-to-date security systems, automatic check-in machines, large and comfortable lounges, duty-free shops, as well as other amenities. After the expansion project is concluded, the Adis Abeba airport will be larger than the Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, which currently serves 17 million passengers yearly. “This great terminal is just another evidence of the development of the Bole Airport, making it become one of the largest and most convenient aviation hubs in the world”, states Tewolde GebreMariam, the CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines Group
“This great terminal is just another evidence of the development of the Bole Airport, making it become one of the largest and most convenient aviation hubs in the world”
Ethiopia is betting on another wager to consolidate Addis Ababa as the main airline hub in Africa by building the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel, located five minutes by car from the airport. This new business venture is 40,000 square meters, hosts 373 rooms and features 27 Presidential and executive suites. There is a conference room sitting 2,500 people, as well as four restaurants, including the largest Chinese restaurant in Africa. It is classified as a five-star hotel, it cost US$ 65 million to build, and should generate 400 direct jobs, and according to the company, it will promote tourism in Ethiopia. It will also serve passengers during their transfers, stop-overs, and technical delays.
“The hotel surroundings are wonderful. It is contemporary, brightly illuminated, and luxuriously spacious, conducive as a reference project on continental Africa”, said Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, during an inauguration ceremony where 3,000 invited people attended. “Ethiopian Airlines is our national pride and a special icon among our businesses since it carries the name of our country Ethiopia and our national flag”, adds Ahmed.
Ethiopian Airlines, during the inaugurations, also announced that it is going to restructure its network in the United States, which includes the opening of new destinations and new increased frequencies beginning in the summer of 2019 to the northern hemisphere. Besides that, the airline company is going to change its new airline hub from Los Angeles to Houston. “The United States is one of our most important markets, due to the presence of a large African community and the growth of the business and tourism ties to Africa”, tells Tewolde GebreMariam, the CEO of the company.
Ethiopian Airlines was established 74 years ago and nowadays has an operating fleet of 111 airplanes and currently flies to 119 international destinations, serving passengers and cargo. 61 of these destinations are in Africa. In the last few years, the company has strategically invested to reach the entire continent, making agreements to revive extinct airline companies and reestablishing partnership agreements with airline companies in Malawi, Chad, and Mozambique.