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  • The 22 most dependable airlines in the world

    Fleet size: 76

    Number of destinations: 101+

    On-time percentage: 71%

    Average age of fleet: 7 years

    Africa's largest and most profitable airline has been in rapid expansion mode to capture the hot Africa-Asia market.

    Ethiopia is building a massive airport to house the airline's home base. The country is looking to shed its image of famine and poverty, and showcase its booming economy.

    Click here to see the 22 most dependable airlines in the world.

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  • AU Grand Hotel, Ethiopia's first 7 star hotel

    Addis Ababa is to get another world class hospitality image before the end of the year when the AU Grand Hotel managed by Westin Hotels and Resorts inaugurates its seven star hotel in the African Union (AU) compound. 

    The multibillion birr investment owned by the billionaire Sheik Mohamed Hussein al Amoudi will be inaugurated before the coming European Christmas, according to an insider source.

    MIDROC Ethiopia Project Office Contracting and Management Services Plc. (MEPO), which is a collaborative partner of the MIDROC Group that develops, constructs and manages property, undertakes the construction of the hotel which is in its final stages. A two year prior cost estimation of the seven star hotel was USD 350 million. “The project cost can jump by more than 20 percent by completion of the work than the previous estimate,” the source added.

    The hotel that will be the fourth international brand on the country after Hilton, Sheraton and Radisson Blu will also have several extraordinary facilities that shall serve heads of states and top officials.

    “The project will be one of the top investments for the billionaire in Ethiopia,” sources at MIDROC told Capital. 

    On his initial investment in Ethiopia, Sheik Mohamed had established the five star luxury collection hotel Sheraton Addis at a cost of over USD 200 million. It is now approaching a two decades service mark.  Until now, no other similar facility is erected in the capital or elsewhere in the country.

    MIDROC has been negotiating with one of the prominent hotel chains owner in the world, Westin Hotels and Resorts, to lease out the management of the new hotel. Westin is part of the Starwood’s Hotels and Resorts chain. It was acquired by Starwood in 1994. 

    Especially in the last decade, Westin has focused on expanding globally and since 2005 its number of hotels has grown from 120 in 24 countries to over 192 in 37 countries by 2013.

    Sources told Capital that Sheik Mohamed had got the contractor replace the cladding recently to stay in tip-top shape with the Westin brand. Installation of the polarized glass has also commenced.

    Sources also said that the billionaire has ordered MEPO, which congregates professionals from different countries, to finalize the project before the end of 2015. 

    For the interior work, the contractor has ordered several European companies including from Spain and Italy to supply superior quality equipments. “The improvements made on the design and replacing the cladding has  forced the contractor for more work,” the source said.

    “Despite the adjustment that needs to be embodied, the project will be accomplished in the original timeframe,” sources at MEPO told Capital. 

    When it opens, the hotel will be the first seven star luxury facility in the country.

    The African Union Grand Hotel (AUGH) is a complex, multipurpose hotel that is designed to cater presidents, diplomats and business travelers. It has suites, standard rooms, meeting rooms, restaurants and bars, swimming pool and spa, grand club, a multipurpose ballroom, business center and parking lot. 

    The hotel has 610 rooms including 27 presidential and 31 ministerial suites. AUGH will also have 3,500 seating capacity conference hall, which will be the biggest conference facility under a hotel business, and another one with a capacity of 2,200 seats for banquets. The hotel will also have eight medium-sized meeting rooms.

    The hotel is mainly intended to accommodate high government officials who come to the capital city for meeting as well as various other reasons.  

    Initially, the Addis Ababa City Administration had allocated 90,000 square meters of land to MIDROC, but based on the company’s request an additional 12,000 square meter was given by the city administration for a security area and parking lots.

    Sheraton Addis, the other luxury hotel owned by Sheik Mohamed, is also managed by Sheraton Hotel and Resort, which was formed in 1937 and is one of the luxury brands under Starwood. 

    Sheraton Addis has 294 rooms and 33 suites. This hotel has 11 conference rooms, and the biggest Lalibela Hall can accommodate 1,500 people at once.

    Sheraton Addis shared the business with Hilton hosting major events and it became a  preferred  retreat for top government officials who visit the country. 

    MEPO has six ongoing projects including AUGH. MEPO will soon start 11 new projects which also includes an expansion project of Sheraton Addis.

    Sheik Mohamed has over 70 companies in Ethiopia in different sectors. 

    Currently, interest of international hotel brands who aspire to join the hospitality industry is increasing.

    Source: Capitalethiopia

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  • Ethiopia: New International Airport to Be 'As Big As Heathrow'

    Ethiopia is set to complete expansion work on Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in 2018 and is planning to commission a new facility to meet rising demand.

    According to Global Construction Review (GCR), less than a decade ago, Bole handled fewer than a million passengers a year, but that rose to 7 million in 2014. Passenger numbers are expected to continue increasing by 18 per cent a year.

    China Communication Construction Company is currently working on the $300m expansion to the airport, which started in September 2014. This will raise capacity to an estimated 20 million.

    Hailu Gebre-Mariam, Ethiopian Airports Enterprise project manager for the expansion, told Reuters: "We did not expect this growth to happen in eight years. That is why we are undertaking an expansion of the airport that will serve us for the next 15." 

    Plans are being made to build another international airport in Ethiopia, one that could serve 70 million a year, which is about equivalent to London Heathrow.

    Gebre-Mariam said: "We have whittled down potential sites from eight to three, all of which are within 60 to 70-kms from Addis Ababa."

    Once the site is approved and designs and financing are confirmed a new airport might be built within eight years at an estimated cost of $2.5-3bln.

    Source: The Ethiopian Herald

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  • Ethiopian receives ATW’s award

    Ethiopian Airlines, the largest and the fastest growing airline in Africa, won the Best Regional Airline of the Year award among airlines of all regions in the world by Air Transport World (ATW) at the 41st annual Air Transport World Airline Industry Achievement Awards ceremony held in Washington DC on February 25. 

    The awards, which are among the most coveted in the aviation industry, were created in 1974 to recognize excellence in the sector with the vote of the most renowned journalists of the industry.

    When accepting the award, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, Tewolde Gebremariam, said: 

    “I would like to thank the ATW Board and management for honoring us with this prestigious award. It is a special privilege for me to accept the award on behalf of the employees, management and the board of Ethiopian Airlines. 

    The award is above all a testimony of the commitment and dedication of our more than 8,500 employees, who work hard day-in and day-out around the globe to make the airline shine high in the sky. I also thank our valued customers, partners and suppliers for their support in our fast, profitable and sustainable growth strategic road map of vision 2025 which has made us the largest Passenger and Cargo Airline in Africa. The award encourages us to double our efforts to earn the confidence of all our stakeholders with laser sharp focus on delivering superior customer services.” 

    The awards’ judges noted that Ethiopian, which has enjoyed robust growth since the start of the decade and is now the most profitable and largest airline in Africa based on fleet size and passengers flown, has shown outstanding capability in its efficient use of smaller aircraft, skillfully developing markets that are not part of its mainline international airline network. They also lauded Ethiopian, which topped the six million passenger mark in 2014, for its first-rate safety standards and consistent high standards of customer service.

    Ethiopian is a Pan-African global carrier operating the youngest fleet in the continent with an average of less than 7 years and currently serving 84 international destinations across 5 continents with over 200 daily departures. Last year the airline received ten international awards.

    Source: thereporterethiopia

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  • Where Rimbaud Found Peace in Ethiopia

    The Arthur Rimbaud Cultural Center, a merchant's home now dedicated to the poet and his time in Harar. CreditMichael Tsegaye for The New York Times

    In December of 1880, the mercurial French poet Arthur Rimbaud entered the ancient walled city of Harar, Ethiopia, a journey that had involved crossing the Gulf of Aden in a wooden dhow and 20 days on horseback through the Somali Desert. Several years before, the author of the prose poems “A Season in Hell” and “Illuminations” had abruptly renounced poetry and embarked on peregrinations that would take him around Europe, Asia, the Middle East and, finally, Africa. At age 26, Rimbaud accepted “a job consisting in receiving shipments of bales of coffee” with a French trading firm in a thriving corner of what was then called Abyssinia.

    Then as now, Harar was a market town threaded with steep cobblestone alleys that wind between high limestone and tuff walls. Today those walls are painted with geometric designs in green, white, pink and blue. As one strolls down the narrow, mazelike streets lined with single-story dwellings, the city, fortified and enigmatic, feels closed off. Donkeys carrying bundles of firewood wait patiently for their owners near the crenelated entrances of the city’s historic gates. In the densely populated Old City, there are over 180 mosques and shrines, some dating to the 10th century. Occasionally one comes upon open-air markets where spices, khat leaves and coffee beans are sold in huge sacks.

    Read the full story on the nytimes website.

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