By Elias Gebreselassie
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday inaugurated a Chinese built state of the art mega airport terminal expansion and a five-star luxury hotel, located in the capital city, Addis Ababa.
The mega airport terminal expansion project was undertaken by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), with finances covered through a loan from the China Export-Import Bank. The airport terminal expansion cost 363 million U.S. dollars to complete.
The five-star luxury hotel owned by Ethiopia’s flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) was constructed by China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation at a cost of 65 million U.S. dollars.
China Export-Import Bank covered 65 percent of the luxury hotel construction cost, with Ethiopian government covering the rest of the construction cost.Grand Skylight Hotel Management (GSHM), a hospitality company based in Shenzhen city, China, will manage the luxury hotel.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Ethiopian PM, said the inauguration of the two facilities will boost Ethiopia’s tourism sector capacity.
“Ethiopian Airlines is the pride of Ethiopia, with its success being due to the joint efforts of the Airlines staff from the ground level to the management level” said Ahmed.
He also called on Ethiopian Airlines to supplement its hard infrastructure with knowledge by upgrading the current ET aviation academy to a University level.
“Ethiopian Airlines needs an aviation university that will train future pilots, aviation technicians, flight attendants and other staff to remain competitive in the global aviation sector” said Ahmed.
Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said the expanded airport terminal and the five star luxury hotel will further assist Ethiopia’s tourism and hospitality sectors.
The five star luxury hotel rests on 40,000 square meters. It has 373 rooms, four restaurants including the largest Chinese restaurant in Africa and a conference hall that can hold up to 2,000 people at a time.
“The new modern airport terminal incorporates the latest technology, security system, self-check in machines, self-boarding system, very comfortable lounges, adequate spaces for large duty free shops, and various restaurants tailored to our customers from all over the world” he said.
“The expansion of the airport terminal not only relives the congestion at the airport, but it will also double the airport’s annual passenger capacity from the current 12 million to 25 million passengers ” he further said.
Gebremariam said the five star luxury will enable Ethiopia to increase its foreign tourists numbers target by several million.
“The Ethiopia Skylight hotel will enable Ethiopian Airlines to offer package tour and travel programs. Moreover, the hotel will enable ET to attract around a third of tourists out of the six million passengers that transit Addis Ababa Bole International Airport annually” said Gebremariam.
“This is part of our successful diversification of our services, starting from having Africa’s largest aviation academy to our world class aircraft maintenance facilities and our cargo terminal which can accommodate a million tons a year to our flight catering center” he further said.