Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) plans to start building a new airport near Addis Ababa and intends to invest up to USD5 billion in the project, Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam told the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency.

"Addis Ababa Bole Airport is not going to accommodate us; we have a beautiful expansion project. The airport looks very beautiful and very large but with the way that we are growing, in about three or four years we are going to be full," Tewolde said.

The new airport will be built in Bishoftu, around 40 kilometres from the Ethiopian capital, and will have a target capacity of 100 million passengers per year, more than five times the capacity of the current Ethiopian gateway.

Bishoftu is located at a mean height of 1,900 metres ASL which should provide some operational benefits to Ethiopian and other carriers that are currently penalized by Bole's altitude of 2,334 metres ASL.

Tewolde said that the plan was to turn Addis Ababa into an intercontinental hub comparable with Dubai Int'l. No further details were revealed as to the source of funding for the project, although works are supposed to start within the next six months.

According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, in the 2017/18 fiscal year ended on June 30, 2018, Ethiopian Airlines carried 10.6 million passengers and posted a net profit of ETB6.8 billion birr (USD212 million).

The Ethiopian flag carrier and Ethiopian Airports Enterprise, the operator of all aerodromes in the country, are both members of the wholly state-owned Ethiopian Aviation Holding Group. Ethiopian Airlines has a 93.4% market share by capacity at Bole and operates 1,101 out of 1,175 scheduled weekly departures, the ch-aviation capacities module shows.