Any international passenger passing through the ever busy Bole International Airport never gets to see the normalcy at the Airport during the mid mornings when all the huge Aircraft are all gone.
With many big Aircraft like the A350, the B777,B787 arriving and departing Bole is filled with the blinking lights of departing or Arriving Jumbos. The Ramp buses are all over the place picking up passengers from remotely parked planes and dropping them off at the terminals.
The Airport is one huge crush of humanity with Chinese merchants and construction workers vying for space with Norwegian Tourists on their way to Cape town next to the Japanese investor on his way to Ghana. The African Diplomat on his way home and the Nigerian Businessman going to China are the most ubiquitous Passengers at this Airport that has outgrown its present Capacity.
It is obvious that Ethiopian Airlines is growing faster than the Airport and the Airport is playing catch up.
Passing through Bole after the Rush hour is a sobering experience.
Sitting at the domestic terminal connecting a domestic flight the Airport looks deserted. Quiet as the humm of heavy duty CFM and Rolls Royce engines are absent. The dinn of the immense human Glossolalia is missing. Ethiopians dominate the Airport and they a cadence less noisy than most people. The screening point ladies address you in Amharic before you correct them by asking questions in English. The Ramp buses and Staircases are silently parked on the Airside like empty stadium seats.
This is Bole shorn of its majesty. The ever efficient African Hub becomes more human. The overworked Airport staff are calmer and less martial. Rush hour is late evening and Early morning when over 90 Aircraft are plied to service to over 100 global destinations. The Airport is efficient and is now been expanded to catch up with the growth of the Airline.
Now On the Tarmac are small Aircraft that look unlike the usual image of Ethiopian Airlines all Over the world. Instead of huge Aircraft you have turboprop Bombardier Q400 and the B737 connecting Ethiopia’s 23 Airports and numerous neighbouring destinations throughout the day.
It’s just another day at one of Africa’s busiest Airport.
When next you are passing through Bole at the Rush hour know that it is just one side of the story. Make out time to fly to a domestic Airport to see the other Side of things.
I enjoyed the moments watching Ethiopians handling Ethiopians. It was fun.
By Ikechi Uko