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Ethiopia Air Operations, Airports and Services

Ethiopia is a beautiful country attracting big number of tourists, business and other GA flights every year, several points should be taken care when operating to Ethiopia. The service limitations and airport day time operating hours must be considered for any operation other than to HAAB.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

Airports of Entry

Only two airports in Ethiopia are considered AOE (Airport of Entry) and have immigration facility. Those are Addis Ababa HAAB and Bahir Dar (HABD). HABD is primarily a tourism destination, while HAAB is where most flights land for business purposes. However, visa on arrival for the passengers can be obtained only at HAAB for few certain nationality.

HAAB is the only airport open 24/7

HAAB is the only 24/7 in Ethiopia. All other airports have limited operation hours and open only between 0300 – 1700 UTC daily (day time operation only). They’ll normally close after scheduled commercial operations are over for the day. Should you wish to arrange airport overtime at domestic airports in Ethiopia it’s best to plan on at least one week’s prior notice lead time and get CAA & airport authority approval for that. You need to get ground handler approval to keep staff at the airport.

HAAB Peak hours of operation

HAAB has peak period of commercial activity between 03:00hrs – 08:00hrs UTC and between 15:00hrs – 21:00hrs UTC daily. A 10% peak hour surcharge of the basic handling fee is applicable when flights operate during above periods. Other domestic airports in Ethiopia have no peak hours. Therefore it is always recommended to uplift fuel on arrival to avoid any refueling delay during peak hours.

Airport infrastructure

Condition of runways, taxiways and ramp areas at HAAB is very good. However, other domestic airports such as both Lalibella (HALL) and Arba Minch (HAAM) are both in need of runway/taxiway work. It’s recommended to avoid fuel uplifts on arrival at these locations.

Extended stay options

Only landing permission is required to land at Ethiopian airport, prior permission PPR is not required or airport slots. In most cases just a notification is needed, and parking will be confirmed with no restrictions in terms of length of stay. For extending your stay the CAA should be notified and approve the extended parking. During large local events parking can become an issue at HAAB. In this case, official parking requests must be submitted and approved in advance. The largest annual event with potential to cause parking and aircraft services issues is the African Union (AU) Summit.

HAAB & the African Union (AU) Summit

The African Union summit takes place in Addis Ababa twice a year. The first session hosts Ministers for African countries while the second session is for African Presidents. The AU Summit goes on for just three days. However, during this period services such as fuel uplifts and catering may be delayed. During this event period operators should be mindful of airport congestion and be prepared to experience delays. refueling on arrival is recommended to avoid delays in refueling at departure.

Airport hours extending and noise information

Airport overtime is only possible if the local airport authority approves the request and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in turn, approves the required permits. Currently, there are no noise restrictions for operation to any location in Ethiopia.

Filling Flight Plan & Airport fees

For all operations to Ethiopian airports the crew must sign the fight plan prior to departure at the briefing office. Filing the flight plan online doesn’t work. While your ground handler can extend credit for all fees, airport authorities want the pilot in command (PIC) to personally sign the paperwork. Be careful to choose a ground agent who can cover your airport fees, only few agents can cover the airport fees. Some agents can cover the airport fees at HAAB but not at the domestic airports.

Crew GENDEC and Visa on arrival

All crew can enter for 72 hours on Gendec on condition that they carry their passports and airline IDs, their names are on a stamped GenDec, and coming with airlines uniform. Visa on arrival is possible on for certain nationalities and from HAAB only. It is very important to check if your passengers are entitled for visa on arrival or not.


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