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State-run Ethiopian Airlines is is set to begin construction later this year on what will be one of Africa’s largest airports.

As Africa’s leading airline continues to grow and add new routes, it will require more space than its current hub, Bole Airport, can provide.

The new airport — which is set to cost $5 billon — will be built in Bishoftu, a town southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa, and cover 35 square kilometers, said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam in an interview with the state-run Ethiopian News Agency.

“Because Bole Airport is not going to accommodate us; we have beautiful expansion project, the airport looks very beautiful and very large but with the growth that we are going every year in about three or four years we are going to be full,” Gebremariam said.

In 2018, Addis Ababa overtook Dubai as the top transit hub for long-haul passengers into Africa. In 2019 China funded the expansion of Bole Airport was, allowing it to accommodate 22 million passengers annually. Gebremariam has not said how the new airport — which will accommodate 100 million passengers — will be funded.

The continent has been notoriously under-connected by air, and Ethiopian Airlines is changing that, with flights to more than 60 African cities. The company also owns stakes in several local airlines based in other countries.

Photo Credit: Shown here is Babogaya Resort at Babogaya Lake in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. State-run Ethiopian Airlines is set to spend $5 billion building a massive new airport in the city. Christian / Adobe