The Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE), which recently merged with Ethiopian Airlines, has completed the construction of Shire and Jinka airport runways with a cost of 971 million Br, raising the number of operational airports to 20 in the country.
The completion is announced in the midst of the integration of the Enterprise with the Ethiopian Airlines to form Ethiopian Airlines Group.
The construction of the two runway projects includes paving, repairing the surface, developing drainage structure, building an access road and paint markings. Each of the airports’ runways has aprons with the capacity to serve more than two aeroplanes at the same time. The runways, which are around 2.7km long, enable planes to take off or land on.
Jinka’s runway is constructed by Afro Tsion Construction PlC whereas the runway of Shire is built by Ethiopia Construction Works Corporation (ECWC), costing 571 million dollars and 400 million dollars, respectively.
The former, located three kilometres away from Jinka town, is situated around 25km far from Hamar area and 100km far from one of the tourist attractions in the country, OMO National Park.
The completion of the runway is expected to bolster the tourism flow in the area, according to the management of EAE.
The Jinka project has been under construction by Afro-Tsion since May 27, 2014. The project was delayed by three months owing to a contract adjustment between the two entities.
“Originally, our contract did not include constructing a temporary terminal at Jinka, which was later requested by the Enterprise,” said Tesfaye Misganaw, general manager of Afro Tsion.
Afro Tsion, a grade one contractor, has constructed the temporary terminal at the cost of 25 million Br. The company has been involved in the construction of roads, bridges, airports and real estate development for the past 17 years, working on many projects such as Assela Malt Factory, Mekele University, Awash Arba and Gewane water supply works.
Transport Construction Design Enterprise (TCDE), a state-owned consulting firm engaged in design and supervision of roads and airports, has been working with Afro Tsion as a consultant of the Jinka project.
Established in 1987, TCDE is founded with a mandate of consulting projects. It is also the supervisor for Shire’s runway works.
Ethiopian Roads Construction Corporation, which is under the auspices of Ethiopian Construction Works Corporation, is the main contractor that built the runway at Shire, 1,018km from Addis Abeba and around 60km from Aksum Airport. It took two years and a month to finalise the project.
“It is ready for flight,” said Zeyede Abera, a project manager of the Corporation at Shire Airport. “All we have left are simple works in the construction of the temporary terminal, which is almost completed.”
However, the two runways will start operation after getting approval from the Civil Aviation Authority, a mandated body of the government that checks whether airports are ready to handle flights.
“We are assessing the safety of the runways,” said Fekadu Assefa, an inspector at Aerodrome Safety & Standard Directorate of the Authority. “The result of the assessment is yet to be disclosed.”
Founded in 2003, EAE has been involved in administering and constructing airports since its foundation, building 14 airports so far throughout the country while the remaining were constructed prior to its establishment. Now, it is undertaking an expansion project in Bole International Airports with a cost of 342 million dollars, where over 40pc of the projects has already completed.
The construction of the airports played a significant role in the growth of domestic tourism in Ethiopia, which is growing by around 30pc annually. The Ministry of Culture & Tourism has targeted to raise the number of domestic tourists in the country to 15,000 in 2020.
Source : Fortune