Gambella Airport becomes the nation’s 11th terminal with an advanced Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower that directs aircrafts during takeoff and landing, at the cost of 31.9 million Br.
The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) constructed the tower with the aim of expediting the movement of the increasing traffic jams at the Airport.
Atem Building Contractor, a grade one contractor, completed construction in two years. The Company previously worked on two thirteen-storey, middle-income housing projects and two more at Jinka University , carried out the concrete and electromechanical works of the tower.
To make the tower fully operational, the procurement for communications, navigation, and surveillance systems was made from overseas and is in the process of entering the country. The systems will be installed by another contractor, according to Animut Lemma, promotion & public relations director at the Authority.
The equipment will support seamless global air traffic management system.
“The project was delayed for some times due to security issues of the Airlines hindering easy and flexible access to the construction site,” said Habtamu Ashine, Aerodrome Engineering Section Supervisor, during the handover ceremony of the project, held on September 20, 2017.
Along with Gambella, the construction of control towers at 11 airports was completed, the construction of six more towers is underway and eight towers Gode, Bale Robe, Assosa, Kombolcha, Semera, Shire Endasillassie, Jinka, and Hawassa to be started in the future.
Located 711Km away from the Capital, Gambella Regional State has an estimated area of 29,782sqm, having a total population of 307,096, of which 25pc are urban dwellers. The number of flights to Gambella airport has increased from three times a week to twice a day.
The airport demanded a safe, smooth and comfortable system to adequately accommodate the need, according to Tewodros Dawit, the CEO of the Ethiopian Airport Enterprise (EAE).
During the past five years, the number of domestic flights has increased by 30pc.
This is due to the economic growth of the country as well as the investment growth of the regions and the expansion of tourism, which finally instigated the installation of new technologies at the terminals, according to Tewodros.
Gambella and the other terminals are administered by the Enterprise; it recently merged with Ethiopian Airlines. Since its establishment in 2003, the Enterprise has built 14 airports out of the existing 20. The remaining were constructed before its inception.
Now, it is undertaking an expansion project at Bole International Airport at the cost of 342 million dollars. It has also completed the construction of Shire and Jinka airport runways with a cost of 971 million Br recently.
Among the total number of airports, four of them: Bole (Addis Abeba), Dire Dawa, Bahir Dar, and Mekelle are international.