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New Addis Ababa airport eight years in planning has still not seen a spade turned

Premium Analysis

Over the past three years several major new airports have opened across the world, including Istanbul and Beijing Daxing. Also Berlin-Brandenburg – although that took an eternity.

At least one fell by the wayside altogether: namely the new Mexico City airport, which was summarily trashed by the incoming president, even though work had already started on it.

The point is that all the above has happened since 2014, when a master plan was first rolled out for a new airport in Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa being the economic powerhouse of East Africa, and home to Ethiopian Airlines – the continent’s most impressive airline and arguably one of its most successful financially, with consistent profits in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite added infrastructure, the existing airport won’t be up to the job for much longer. But there has been little progress made, even to firm up a site for the new airport, let alone to start building it.

If the government wants the airline to hold on to its status it needs to get on with it, and quickly.

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