Semera airstrip gets facelift

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Tourists, investors, students expected to benefit from the project

The capital city of the Afar regional state, Semera is set to have an upgraded airstrip with the signing of a contract between a local company called Yaregal Yifredew Road Contractor Private Limited Company and the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise (EAE) on December 1st.
The supervisory and consultancy firm for the project is another local company – Transportation and Construction Design (TCD) Consultancy Share Company.
Wondim Teklu, Public Relations Head at the Enterprise said the project would include maintenance work of Semera airstrip runway at a cost of more than nine million birr, and would take 120 days to finish, the 2.5 km long and 45 meters wide runway. Once completed the airstrip which currently handles very small airplanes on a non-scheduled trip basis would be able to accommodate larger aircrafts such as the Fokker and Q-400 Bombardier aircraft on a regular basis.
So far the EAE noted that only the national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines has shown an interest, to fly to the airstrip on a regular basis, although private airline companies are expected to travel to the place on a chartered basis.
Wondim said once completed the airstrip is expected to provide service for passengers originating from the Afar regional state, tourists who travel to the region to see scenic places such as the ‘Ert-Ale’ active volcanic mountain, various investors engaged in investments such as mining activities and students from higher institutions like the Semera University.
The EAE is currently engaged in a wide ranging construction work at some of the 17 airports it currently operates.
One notable project is The Addis Ababa Bole International Airport Apron Expansion which is currently being conducted at a cost of about 1.1 billion birr in two phases and is scheduled to be completed by January 2013, with the contracting company being China Road and Bridge Construction Corporation (CRBC).
The EAE also has unveiled its plans for the current Ethiopian fiscal year 2012/13 with plans to finish the Kombolcha airport first phase project consisting of aprons, runway and medium sized passenger terminals as well as complete construction of passenger terminals for Assosa, Bahir Dar and Jimma Airports.
The Enterprise, on November 24th had inaugurated the spacious, modern Garad Wilwal Jigjiga Airport new passengers’ terminal located about 660km east of Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian Airports Enterprise currently operates 17 airports across Ethiopia and plans to increase its international airports to 21 by the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) in 2015.