Ethiopia inaugurates new airport

The number of airports in Ethiopia increased to 15 after the capital city of Benishangul-Gumuz Reginal State, Assosa, gets a new airport this week.

The newly constructed runway of the airport, which is constructed by Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE), has a handling capacity of Boeing 737 and airplanes with up to 120 passenger seats.

The enterprise spent a total of 92 million birr (around 7 million USD at current exchange arte) for the construction of the airport, which took three years. The airport is located to the west of Addis Ababa at a distance of 660Kms, and 5.5Kms to the south east of Assosa town.

Currently a 40 million birr (around 3 million USD at current exchange arte) terminal is under construction, according to Shiferaw Alemu, General Manager of EAE, who spoke at the inauguration ceremony, which took place on February 15, 2010. When the terminal is completed it will have the capacity to seize up to 176 passengers.

Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister Mines and energy, who also is Board Chairman of EAE, on his part said: “The government of Ethiopia has spent a total of 1.24 billion birr for constructing airports over the last six years.”

According to the Minister, the government is constructing these airports in various regions of the country to boost investment flow. The region where the airport is situated is very rich in minerals and has a great potential for agro-industry.

Including the Assosa Airport, the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise is currently administering 15 airports all over the country.

Out of this, the Addis Ababa Bole Airport, Mekele, DireDawa and Bahir Dar are international standard airports while the rest are domestic. EAE is a government institution established to construct, maintain and administer aerodromes in Ethiopia.