It looks like Ethiopia as an aviation hub is taking off at the speed of light with its latest airport upgrade, including a new luxury hotel from Ethiopian Airlines.
A newly expanded terminal was launched on Sunday at Bole International Airport by the country's prime minister Abiy Ahmed - an expansion that saw its 7 million-passenger capacity tripled to 22 million annually, reports Quartz.
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It features the latest technology security systems, self-check-in machines, a self-boarding system, comfortable lounges, duty-free shops and other amenities.
The expansion was billed at $363 million (about R4.9bn at R13.66/$) with investment and construction provided by China, according to Quartz.
Ahmed hopes that this expansion will not make the airline's management complacent, and that they should aim to accommodate at least a hundred million passengers in the future.
“Ethiopian Airlines is our national pride and a special icon among our companies as it carries our common name Ethiopia and our national flag. We would like all employees of the airline here and elsewhere to know that we speak of you with pride."
The airline's CEO Tewolde GebreMariam shared similar sentiments.
“While Addis Ababa Airport took over Dubai as the largest air transport hub between Africa and the rest of the world, this grand terminal building is further evidence of the development of Bole Airport as one of the largest and most convenient global aviation hubs."
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This is part of a 15-year plan for Ethiopian Airlines to become the top carrier in Africa, which also includes the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel at the airport. Shares in the hotel were also offered to employees to "boost a sense of ownership among staff".
It has 373 rooms, which include extravagant presidential suites, conference and meetings rooms, three different restaurants - including the largest Chinese restaurant in Africa - a jazz club and a gym with a spa.
"Ethiopian Skylight Hotel will enable the airline to offer packaged tour and travel programs. Moreover, the hotel will enable Ethiopian Airlines to attract around a third of tourists out of the 6 million passengers transiting through Bole Airport to visit Ethiopia,” says GebreMariam.
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