Bale Robe Flickers with Air Traffic Control Tower

The tower was constructed with 35.3 million Br investment

The recently constructed Bale Robe Airport Terminal has become the nation’s 15th airport with an air traffic control tower designed to direct aircraft during takeoff and landing.

The tower, costing 35.3 million Br, occupies a 460sqm plot and stands 25m in height. Bale Robe Airport is located in Bale Robe town, in Oromia Regional State, 430Km south of the capital. The tower, a five-storey building with 15 rooms, will be used as administrative offices for the airport, in addition to its air traffic control function.

The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority hired Unity Engineering to construct the tower with the supervision of K2N Architects & Engineering Consultancy Plc. K2N Architects, a company established a decade ago and currently operating with 100 employees, was paid 260,000 Br for the design of the tower and 28,000 Br a month for the supervisory work. K2N had supervised the construction of Semera Airport and currently consults on the construction of the Civil Aviation headquarters.

Unity Engineering, a local grade one contractor, won the bid after competing with three other local companies-Mescon Construction, Genale Construction and Flintstone Engineering. Approximately 60 people were involved during the construction of the tower that took three years to complete.

To begin operations, the authority is in the process of hiring 15 air traffic controllers, according to Hana Tegengworq, director of Aerodrome Safety & Standards at the authority.

“After we hired them, we will give them extensive training,” Hana told Fortune.

The town is home to a teachers training college and Madawalabu University, and it is the nearest large town to Sof Omar Caves, one of the most notable tourist attraction sites in Ethiopia.

The tower has two merits, according to a pilot who worked for decades and who commented under the condition of anonymity.

“Beyond minimising accidents, the tower can be used to control flights coming from southwest of the country, including as from Kenya, central Africa and Tanzania,” he said.

Along with Bale Robe, the construction of control towers at 14 other airports has been completed. Construction of six more towers is underway, including in Hawassa, Semera, Gode, Jinka, Gambella and Shire.

Currently, Ethiopian Airports Enterprise, which merged with Ethiopian Airlines a year ago, operates 22 airports across the country, of which 15 have air traffic control towers. Since its establishment in 2003, the Enterprise has built 14 airports, with the rest having been constructed prior to its inception.

Along with the 22 airports, the country has 53 informal runways, which are used to land private jets.


Published on Aug 25,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 956]



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