Ethiopian Airlines opens new Chinese-built domestic terminal at Addis Ababa 

Lubo Ivanko / Shutterstock

Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has announced the inauguration of its newly transformed domestic terminal at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD). The $50 million expansion and renovation project, which opened to the public for the first time on May 18, 2024, was led by a Chinese-based consortium. It has significantly upgraded the terminal by doubling its total area to 277,170sq ft (25,750sq m), increasing its handling capacity twofold. 

The newly inaugurated domestic terminal will be the main connecting hub for Ethiopian’s domestic operations, which serve over 200 flights to and from 22 domestic destinations daily. The expanded terminal features modernized airport systems and facilities including four new contact gates, 10 remote departure gates, 22 check-in counters with an automated hold baggage screening system, self-check-in kiosks, a modern security screening system, and a premium-class VIP lounge.  

According to the airport, these enhancements will “streamline passenger flow, improve comfort levels, and enhance the overall travel experience”. 

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines Group’s CEO, Mesfin Tasew, expressed his delight at the new terminal to reporters, emphasizing the commitment of Ethiopian Airlines Group to elevate the standard of airport services and experience, while the new facility serves as an important facility for facilitating the country’s integration, socio-economic development, and promoting the tourism and hospitality sector. 

“The Domestic terminal expansion and renovation at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is a significant addition to our initiative of modernizing and renovating airports and aviation facilities in the country,” said Mesfin. “As the demand in domestic travel is growing, the completion of this project would allow us to offer a smooth travel experience to our esteemed passengers.” 

Mesfin added that, amid the fast-growing demand for domestic air transport services and recent developments in the country’s tourism sector, the domestic terminal in Addis Ababa has necessitated major expansion and renovation works to meet the growing demand. 

The CEO noted that the new terminal, built by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), will not only increase the airline’s capacity to handle more travelers but also enhance passengers’ overall travel experience to an international standard of domestic air transport service. 

Ethiopian eyes future growth strategy 

The Ethiopian national flag carrier declared that its focus on boosting passenger experience aligns with the airline’s broader aspiration of solidifying Ethiopia’s position as a global tourism destination. 

According to the carrier, the new terminal forms just one part of its future strategy to modernize aviation facilities and enhance air transport services in Ethiopia. The airline has recently initiated thrice-weekly passenger flights to Dembi Dollo Airport (DEM), along with other new terminals at the Gode (GDE) and Jinka Baco (BCO) airports within the country.  

Ethiopian Airlines’ 15-year strategic plan, known as ‘Vision 2035’, aims for the company to become one of the most competitive and leading aviation groups in the world by providing safe, secure, market-driven, and customer-focused passenger and cargo transport, aviation training, airport management, and ground services, among others. 

EQRoy / Shutterstock

Meanwhile, plans are underway elsewhere to open several additional airports in the coming months, and the inauguration of further domestic services including a thrice-weekly service to Nekemte (NEK) and the reinstatement of daily flights between Addis Ababa to Axum Airport (AXU). 

Ethiopia’s Minister of Tourism Nasise Chali said that the renovated and expanded domestic passenger terminal will play a crucial role in streamlining the country’s tourism sector by providing a better travel experience to domestic and international travelers and tourists, while also augmenting the country’s image. 

Ethiopian Airlines Group is one of the fastest-growing airline brands globally and the continent’s largest airline brand. In its 78 years of operations, the carrier has come to command the lion’s share of the African passenger and cargo network. It operates Africa’s youngest and most modern fleet to more than 150 domestic and international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents.  

Ethiopian’s fleet category consists of 137 aircraft, including the Airbus A350, Boeing 737, 777, 787, and Bombardier Dash 8-400. The airline is also pursuing a multi-hub African expansion strategy through hubs in Lomé, Togo (LFW) with ASKY, Lilongwe, Malawi (LLW) with Malawi Airlines, and in Lusaka, Zambia (LUN) with Zambia Airways.  

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