Jimma Airport Gets 250m Br Upgrade

The upgraded Aba Segud airport can now accommodate jetliners and will improve the flow of tourists to Jimma.

Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE) will inaugurate its upgraded airport in Jimma, which cost 250 million Birr, on May 16, 2015.

Called Aba Segud, the airport was one of the oldest built in 1961 together with three others in Addis Abeba, Asmara and Dire Dawa.

The airstrip of the old one was two-kilometre long and a 45m wide, and could receive Fokker-50 airplanes which have a carrying capacity of up to 50 passengers, while the terminal could accommodate only 52 passengers at a time.

On the other hand, the upgraded airport includes a 3.3Km asphaltic concrete airstrip with a 60m width which can accommodate Boeing 737 jetliners; it also has a 215m by 115m apron area that can accommodate up to four Boeing 737 airplanes at a time.

Moreover, the airport also has a new passenger terminal built on 3,960sqm plot of land with a capacity of serving up to 236 passengers at once. It is a one-storey building with spaces for restaurants, shops, banks and offices.

The upgrading work undertaken byYirgalem General Construction Plc and Varnero Construction Plc, began in 2009 and was scheduled to be completed in 2012.

Varnero Construction is an Italian firm, well-known for building different landmarks in Addis Abeba over the past 40 years. The Addis Abeba Municipal building and the circular headquarters of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia are among them.

Yiregalem is a local construction company with a history of building different asphalt and concrete as well as gravel roads, in addition to buildings, mainly in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State for the past 17 years.

The construction of the airstrip was undertaken by Varnero at a cost of 200 million Br whereas the passenger terminal was built at a cost of 50 million Br.

Given the fact that the area is a production hub of export oriented commodities such as coffee, hides and skins, this new airport is expected to make an important contribution to transporting these commodities. In addition, it will have an impact in the increased tourist flow to the area, said Kebede Birru, head of safety management & regional coordination office at EAE.

Jimma is the corridor for tourists to south western Ethiopia, and boasts the Abba Jiffar Palace among its own attractions.

The airport is now conducting daily flights to Addis Abeba in addition to Jimma-Addis, Jimma-Gambela, Jimma-Assosa and Jimma-Arba Minch flights, added Kebede. Other flight providers such as Abbyssinia Flight Service Plc have been using it for a while. The airport is also facilitating flights that provide relief services for South Sudan.

Connecting the airport with the town is a two kilometre asphalt road which was also upgraded by the town itself, stated Kedede.

EAE was formed as a public enterprise in January 2003 by the Council of Ministers with capital of two billion Birr. Previously, known as the Civil Aviation Authority, its responsibilities include economic and technical regulations, airport services and aviation security. It also handles rental of airport facilities for Ethiopian and other airways. Currently, the enterprise administers 21 airports throughout the country.


Published on May 4, 2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 783]



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