By Shahida Hussein
The Ethiopian Airports Enterprise built a new airport in the ancient town of Jimma, 354 km west of Addis Ababa at a cost of 490 million birr.Â
The new airport lies on 4665.76 sq.m plot adjacent to the old Jimma Airport. The new airport runway is four km long and has a width of 60 meters. The passenger terminal is a one storey building that houses restaurants, shops, bank, worship compartment and offices. The passenger terminal can serve 220 passengers at a time. The apron can accommodate four aircraft at a time.
Mesfine Hailemikael, acting manager of the Jimma Airport, told The Reporter that the new airport can accommodate aircraft as big as Boeing B737 jetliner that Ethiopian Airlines uses on regional routes. The renowned Italian construction firm Varnero built the terminal while an indigenous contractor, Yirgalem Construction, constructed the runway and apron.
According to Mesfin, work on the project commenced in 2009 and was scheduled for completion in 2012. However, due to dearth of construction materials the project was delayed. The airport is named after Jimma’s founder and prominent ruler, Abba Jiffar. According to Mesfin, the Jimma Abba Jiffar Airport will become operational after one month.
Mesfin said the new airport meets international standards adding that it will enable business people transport their products and raw materials to the national and international market. The airport will handle Jimma-Addis, Jimma-Gambela, Jimma-Assosa and Jimma -Arbaminch flights. As Jimma is a historical town the new airport is believed to play a significant role in boosting the local tourism industry. The Abba Jiffar Palace and Aweto Park are some of the tourist attraction sites. Jimma is also known for high coffee production. The government wants to make Jimma town a regional commercial hub.
Source: The Reporter