By Cailey Rizzo
February 04, 2020
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Ethiopian Airlines is spending an estimated $5 billion to build the largest airport in Africa. It could also become Africa's busiest airport, capable of handling more passengers than the current busiest hub in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In an interview with the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said that the airline completed its 2025 goals seven years ahead of schedule. The airline is now moving onto its 2035 vision, which includes the massive new airport.

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Ethiopian Airlines is currently operating flights out of Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital. “The airport looks very beautiful and large, but with the growth that we are [seeing] every year, in about 3 or 4 years, we are going to be full,” Gebremariam told ENA. That being said, they are moving ahead with building the airport, which they are calling Absera.

The Absera Airport will take up about 13 square miles of land in the town of Bishoftu, almost 40 miles south of Addis Ababa. The airport will be able to accommodate about 100 million passengers per year.

The airport wants to become an “airport city,” complete with duty-free shopping malls, hotels, and training centers. The airline has not yet announced when the new airport will open, but it says that it will rival the scale of the new Istanbul Airport, which is projected to become the world’s largest airport when construction is complete in 2028.

Currently, Africa’s busiest airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. In 2018, about 21 million people passed through its doors.