Addis Ababa becomes the gateway to Africa

10 Jan 2019

Ethiopia has overtaken Dubai as the transfer hub for long-haul travel to Africa, thanks to the success of Ethiopian Airlines expansion drive within the continent and Prime Minister Abiy’s reforms since he took office in April.

The latest findings from Spanish travel consultancy ForwardKeys shows that the number of long-haul transfers to Africa via Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has grown in volume by 85% for five years in a row, between 2013 and 2017. Transfers via Dubai over the same period rose by 31%.

The firm analysed data from travel booking systems, which record an average of 17 million flight bookings a day, to determine the number of long-haul transfers to the region via Addis Ababa.

So far this year, Addis Ababa’s traffic growth is 18%, while Dubai stands at 3%.

This means that Addis Ababa Bole Airport, has now surpassed Dubai as the lead gateway to Africa.

Dubai has long been a major global air travel hub. Many passengers traveling between one part of the continent and another, or from Asia or Europe to Africa, must often transit through Dubai. But this is changing due to Ethiopian Airlines expansion drive, which sees it flying to more than 60 destinations in Africa and launching new destinations in the lucrative Asian market, as well as Europe.

ForwardKeys also attributed the recent hike in bookings via Addis Ababa in part to new-found confidence in the wake of reforms carried out by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he took office in April. These include signing a peace deal with Eritrea in July, a new e-visa policy introduced in June, which allows international visitors to apply for a visa on line and a promise to open Ethiopia’s markets to private investment.

And the rise of travel via Addis Ababa looks set to continue. International bookings for Ethiopia, for the period from this November to January 2019, are ahead by more than 40% over the same period in 2017 – well ahead of all other destinations in Africa.

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, said: “Sub-Saharan Africa is a market of opportunity. Across the region, carriers are increasing seat capacity on international flights by six percent on average; that is an encouraging sign. If more governments follow the go-ahead example set by Ethiopia, including reducing conflict and taking advantage of the benefits that can flow from more relaxed visa policies, I would expect to see a healthy growth in tourism in 2019.”

…Bole International Airport to become Africa’s largest

In related news, the Bole International Airport expansion will see it take over as the largest airport in Africa upon its commissioning in January 2019.

The project to expand Bole International Airport commenced in December 2015 and the expanded terminal partially commenced service in September this year after the Eastern wing was completed. At that point, the whole project was 83% completed.

The Bole expansion will make it the largest airport in Africa in terms of passenger handling capacity, besting South Africa’s O.R. Tambo Airport, which has the capacity to handle 20 million passengers a year. Bole International will have a capacity of around 22 million passengers a year.

Once completed, the airport will cement the Ethiopian aviation industry’s dominance in Africa, and possibly push it towards global prominence as well. Ethiopian Airlines is already Africa’s biggest airline by a number of metrics.

Latest News

Browse all
A ceremonial hand-over of locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II took place on 20th March at the National Army Museum, in the presence of H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw. While in London, the Minister also visited St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle - the resting place of the remains of Prince Alemayehu, son of Emperor Tewodros II.
21 Mar 2019
Ethiopians celebrate historic return of Emperor Tewodros’ Hair
Remarks by H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw, Ethiopia's Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Sport, on the occasion of the official handover ceremony of locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II.
20 Mar 2019
Remarks by H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw on the Occasion of the Official Handover of Locks of Hair Belonging to Emperor Tewodros II
The Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sport, Her Excellency Dr Hirut Kassaw Wondim, visited and held discussions with the British Library in London in her first engagement as part of a wider visit to cultural institutions in the United Kingdom.
19 Mar 2019
Minister signs MoU with British Library on Debut Visit to the United Kingdom
An agreement has been reached on the manner and style of the hand-over to Ethiopia, of locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II. It has been agreed that an inclusive hand-over ceremony will be held at the museum on 20 March, where H.E. Dr Hirut Kassaw, Minister of Culture and Tourism, will receive the human remains from the museum’s…
18 Mar 2019
UK’s National Army Museum to hand over locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia
Yesterday, at approximately 08:44am local time, (05:44 GMT) an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft Boeing 737-800MAX, flight ET 302 en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, tragically crashed. 11 March has been declared a national day of mourning for the victims. A book of condolence has also been opened at the Embassy.
11 Mar 2019
National Day of Mourning Declared for Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302
We are delighted to host a special exhibition of historic and cultural artefacts at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, to commemorate the 123rd Anniversary of the Battle of Adwa from 9 - 17 March 2019.
8 Mar 2019
Event: Remembering Adwa
National Army Museum የአፄ ቴዎድሮስ ፀጉርን ለመመለስ መወሰኑ በሁለቱ ወዳጅ አገሮች መካከል እየጎለበተ የመጣውን የመግባባት መንፈስ ከፍተኛ ደረጃ ላይ መድረሱን እንደሚያመለክት በለንደን የሚገኘው የኢፌዴሪ ኤምባሲ አስታውቋል።
5 Mar 2019
የአፄ ቴዎድሮስ ፀጉር ወደ ኢትዮጵያ ሊመለስ ስለመሆኑ፣
The Ethiopian Embassy welcomes the unanimous decision by the Trustees of the National Army Museum to return locks of hair belonging to Ethiopia’s Emperor Tewodros II. For Ethiopians everywhere, a display of jubilant euphoria is to be expected when the hair is returned to its rightful home in Ethiopia.
4 Mar 2019
Ethiopia Secures Repatriation of Remains of Emperor Tewodros II
ለንደን የሚገኘው የኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ ከዳያስፖራው ጋር ውይይት ለማካሄድና በጋራ መንቀሳቀስ የሚቻልበትን ሁኔታ ለመፍጠር የአንድነትና የሰላም ድልድይ ግንባታ መድረክ አዘጋጅቷል፡፡
27 Feb 2019
የአንድነትና የሰላም ድልድይ ግንባታ መድረክ በለንደን
The Ethiopian Embassy in London cordially invites all members of the Ethiopian community in the United Kingdom to an open forum held, in the spirit of togetherness, to foster greater peace and unity within the Diaspora. The Forum will be held on 16 March 2019 from 2pm.
26 Feb 2019
Diaspora Forum: Building a Bridge for Peace and Unity
Investors hoping to explore one of Africa's fastest-growing economies can now acquire easy access to reliable and up-to-date information with a new online investment guide to Ethiopia. The iGuide highlights areas for reform in the country’s investment environment, thus helping the government understand investor needs.
19 Feb 2019
Ethiopia launches online investment guide to stimulate FDI
PM Abiy led an Ethiopian delegation on a three-nation European Tour, in Italy where they met the President and the Pope, Davos where the Prime Minister addressed global leaders at the World Economic Forum and Brussels for meetings with the EU Commission.
13 Feb 2019
Prime Minister Abiy receives further support for reforms in latest whistle-stop tour of Europe