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Ethiopian Airlines will begin this year construction of Africa’s largest airport. Ethiopian Airlines- construction of Africa’s largest airport-100 million passenger capacity- economic role of air transport- role of airports-development of air transport-competition-added value-customer experience-Africa-coming challenges-project

Ethiopian Airlines will begin this year construction of Africa’s largest airport. Why ? - By Ahmed Haouaria

18 Jan 2020

Ethiopian Airlines will begin this year construction of Africa’s largest airport with 100 million passenger capacity 

The economic role of air transport Air transport, a growing economic sector facing new challenges.The sector is definitely a globalized economic activity. For several decades, the number of passenger-kilometers, PMM transported has doubled every 15 years, a growth that the economic players in the sector see continuing for the years to come, especially as the activity of this sector has shown relatively adaptable to economic and political vagaries. The center of gravity of this growth is shifting to the regions of the world with the strongest demographic and economic growth, mainly towards Asia, the Near East, and more and more Africa today, in particular countries like Ethiopia and South Africa.Several structural changes have changed the economic landscape of the sector: the invention in the United States in the late 1970s of the so-called “low-cost” transport model, the most profitable today on short and medium-haul routes , the emergence of new major global airport hubs in the Persian Gulf and in Turkey and the strong development of associated airlines, highly competitive long-haul alliances, and perhaps tomorrow a new economic model based on long-haul flights at low cost.

The role of airports in the development of air transport

Airports are, in essence, a link in the air transport system and they must adapt to its evolution. Their essential missions are the establishment of the infrastructures necessary for air carriers and the planning, organization and management of the interface with other modes of transport.

Three major difficulties make this task complicated:

  • the complexity of the infrastructures (runways, terminals, etc.) which require a significant period of design and implementation and which, once completed, are not very adaptable to fluctuating needs;
  • the importance of threshold effects when it is necessary to build an additional runway or terminal;
  • the peak phenomena experienced by air traffic at certain times of the day and of the year.

The deregulation of air transport in the United States has led American companies, in the interests of reducing costs and rationalizing fleets, to reduce the number of direct lines in favor of drawdowns to connecting airports: this is the system in star says hub and spoke. This concept, which has made airport installations more complex, has since developed on major European platforms such as London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam to allow long-haul flights to be supplied with short and medium-haul flights. Some countries are trying to play the card of connecting airports between long-haul flights by taking advantage of the arrival on the market of very large aircraft, Airbus A 380.

Airport competition: a real added value to the customer experience 

In 2019 Singapore won the title of the best airport in the world. This is the second year in a row that Singapore Airport has won first place. The second and third positions are occupied by the airports of Brisbane and Zurich. If the airports of Zurich and Istanbul are still in the classification, they both fell in the classification: the Zurich airport lost a place, when that of Istanbul lost two! On the other hand, the airports of Munich and London climbed in the classification: the Munich airport gained a place when that of London gained 3!Five of the best airports are on the European continent, two others are in Asia. This ranking can give an idea of ​​which country to visit if you want to go through one of the best airports in the world thanks to its friendly staff, its cleanliness, its variety of shops and restaurants or its ease of access.

And Africa in this chapter ?

On January 27, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines inaugurated the expansion of Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines group.The new passenger terminal features state-of-the-art security systems, automatic check-in kiosks, a self-boarding system, as well as lounges and duty-free shops.According to Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines group, "Addis Ababa Airport has already overtaken Dubai Airport by becoming the largest air transport hub between Africa and the rest of the world. This new large terminal is a demonstration of the development of Bole Airport as one of the largest and most practical hubs in the world. "

Africa's coming challenges, Ethiopian Airlines Model

Ethiopian Airlines, 100% state-owned, plans to build a new airport more suited to its global ambitions. The Airlines CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, revealed a forecast of 100 million passengers capacity.An airport with the big ambitions of Ethiopian Airlines. Those of becoming a global super connector, like Turkish Airlines or the Gulf companies, and being able to play in the same court as the mega-hubs of Istanbul or Dubai. The schedule is ambitious. The Ethiopian Airlines mega-airport will be built on the Bishoftu site, some 40 kilometers south-east of Addis Ababa, in the Oromia region. It will be able to accommodate some 100 million passengers, slightly more than Dubai (90 million passengers) and half as much as the new Istanbul airport (200 million passengers).

A project in gestation over the past few years

The project in gestation for the past years. Worth $ 5 billion, the new airport will be larger than that of Paris Charles-de-Gaulle.Although the current Bole Airport, at the gates of the capital, is still being expanded, Ethiopian Airlines feels cramped there. Its capacities are limited to 19 million passengers. "Bole Airport will no longer be able to accommodate us. He is very beautiful and very tall, but the way we grow he will quickly become saturated within three to four years, "said Tewolde GebreMariam. The location of the current airport is an obstacle to the development of the carrier. Because of the altitude, the tanks of planes cannot leave full. This forces the aircraft to make a stop on the way, when they operate transatlantic connections.The town of Bishoftu is 1,920 meters above sea level, 400 meters less than Addis Ababa. “By taking off from lower heights, this will result in a huge saving in terms of kerosene consumption. 







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