Addis Ababa Airport, 26 tips that save you from frustration

ethiopian airlines closer

Addis Ababa airport has been a story of a crash that killed 157 people, but it is one of the top airlines in Africa. The Addis Ababa bole International airport is located inside the city of Addis Ababa, in the Bole sub-city. The Airport is one of the busiest in the world and has nonstop service to various continents including Europe, Asia, and north and south America. It has two terminals: domestic and international. More than 400 passengers use the airport every day.

Ethiopian Airlines voted the best airline in Africa, has good accommodations and services in a small space. It joined the start alliance network and is working with international airlines and on more routes.

The airline was founded in 1945 and in march 2019 it had about 111 planes and 127 destinations. In a year’s time, more than 10million passengers used the airline, the Addis Ababa airport.

Here is the most necessary information about Addis Ababa airport and your travel and transit through Addis Ababa.


1.   What is the Addis Ababa Airport Code?

ADD – Addis Ababa Airport

2.   Location of airport Addis Ababa

The airport is located in Bole sub-city, 8 km or 5 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Related16 important things to do in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa’s quality of life and how much it costs in Addis Ababa?

Arrival and departure

3.   Addis Ababa Airport Arrivals

Upon your arrival, the first things you will be looking for will be a taxi to take you to a hotel. The airport doesn’t have its own taxi, but you will find a taxi outside, at a parking spot waiting for arrival. These taxis could cost up to 10 dollars based on distance traveled. You can always book through tour operators, for which case they should wait for you at the exit. People are not allowed into the airport building, only travelers, therefore, they should be outside the building.

The best option is to ask the hotel you booked to provide you a pickup. Most hotels in Addis Ababa have that option in their packages.

See arrivals here.

4.   Addis Ababa Airport Departures

See departures here.


You can travel through from terminal 1 to 2 or from terminal 2 to 1 using a passage provided. There is a free shuttle service as well. Addis Ababa airport terminal 2 is a three-story building. It has 28 check-in counters and 7 airline gates. It also accommodates shopping post office, bathroom, telephone, VIP lounge and more. (read about lounges in terminal 2 below to learn about the lounges)

5.    Addis Ababa Airport Terminal 1 To Terminal 2

There is a bus shuttle to take you from terminal 1 to terminal 2, or you can walk through the building to arrive at your desired terminal.

6.    Addis Ababa Airport Map

It is rather hard to find the Addis Ababa airport map. However, the airport is small and easy to navigate even for first-time travelers.

Map: Addis Ababa Airport Terminal Map


7.    Terminal facilities

The Addis Ababa airport terminal has various basic facilities. At your arrival at the airport Addis Ababa, you can look for a money change desk, on your way out. The change is usually more expensive than the banks, some have noticed. But that is the best way to stay your journey into the city. You can always change the rest of the city banks. They will be happy to take your dollar or Euro.

While you are at the airport, you have an option to enjoy a duty-free shop. These have no newspapers or magazines. However, you can find drinks to clothing to souvenirs.

There are food courts where you can enjoy local and international cuisines.

Look at lost found section, if you miss your luggage.

You will also find a telephone in the airport Addis Ababa and the post office is also available.

Based on the request before traveling, the disabled facilities could be provided to you.

8.    Addis Ababa airport new terminal

The new 363-million-dollar terminal was opened at the end of 2019. The new terminal is believed to double the airport capacity to 22 million annual passengers.

The new terminal has new lounges, shops, dining places.

9.    Addis Ababa Airport Hotel (Addis Ababa Airport Transit Hotel)

The Addis Ababa airport hotel was opened in 2019. The hotel has 373 rooms and is called the Ethiopian skylight hotel. The property is financed by China and it is not surprising to find the biggest Chinese restaurant Africa, inside the hotel. It also has a sports facility, shops, food court, and a swimming pool and a conference hall.

ethiopian airlines closer
“Ethiopian 70 anniversary” by Martin J. Gallego. Siempre enredando is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

10.  Addis Ababa Airport Wifi and inflight wifi– is there wifi?

Free Wifi Addis Ababa Airport is available at the airport. However, the current Addis Ababa airport Wifi is not reliable. Many costumers complain about the airport Wifi on many rating platforms. However, the Addis Ababa airport is working towards solving this issue. The issue of unreliable internet is a county-wide problem, and we hope will improve with the progress of the country’s economy.

All A350 flights have wifi. You need to purchase vouchers at the Ethiopians airline customer service office or from the cabin crew in the plane or even online.

11.  Addis Ababa Airport Lounge Shower

The shower in Addis Ababa airport is still lacking. The weather, however, in Addis Ababa is optimal as the city is above 2300 meters altitude. You don’t need AC in buildings, in the city. So, you should be fine. If you have a long layover, then it is better to look for showers outside of airport Addis Ababa.

12.  Cloud Nine Lounge  

A lounge at the departure hall of terminal 2 in Addis Ababa airport is exclusively for cloud nine passengers. The plus side of the lounge area, the better comfort than other lounges in the Addis Ababa airport. Besides the variety of refreshments and snacks, the customer service agents will come and announce departure time for your flight.

13.  Star Alliance Gold Lounge

Located at Departure Hall of Terminal 2, the star alliance gold lounge is only for ShebaMiles Gold and Star Alliance Gold members.

14.  ShebaMIles Silver Lounge

Located at further away from other lounges, ShebaMiles Silver lounge is for members with silver membership cards.


15.  Ethiopian Airlines Check In

The Addis Ababa airport online check-in works between 2 hours and up to 36 hours before departure. You can use the online checking to reserve a seat or confirm attendance. This is probably the easiest way to the airport at peak traffic hours.

The Addis Ababa airport check-in usually opens three hours before departure time and stays open to one hour before departure. You need to visit the check-in desk.

It is always advisable to arrive three hours before departure for your check-in.


16.  Ethiopian Airlines Ticket Office

Global Call Center- Ethiopia airlines phone number

Address: Ethiopian Airlines Head Office

Phone no. no.:   +251 116 179 900 (6787 to be used within Ethiopia)

Working hours: 24/7 throughout the year

Main City Ticket office- Ethiopia airlines phone number

Address: Churchill Road

Mailing address: P.O. Box 1755, Addis Ababa

Phone no. no.:   +251 115 154036

Working hours: 07:00 – 19:30 Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays

Hilton Ticket Office – Ethiopia airlines phone number

Address: Inside Hilton Hotel

Phone no. no.:   +251 115 511540

Working hours: 07:00 – 21:00 – Monday to Saturday

Sunday and Public Holidays 07:00 – 17:00

Bole Ticket Office- Ethiopia airlines phone number

Address: Adika Building, In front of the Friendship Hotel

Phone no. no.:   +251 11663 3162/63

Working hours: 07:00 – 19:00 – Monday to Saturday

Sunday and Public Holidays 07:00 – 17:00

Addis Ababa Sales Office- Ethiopia airlines phone number

Address: Ethiopian Airport Enterprise Building, Ground Floor

Mailing address: P.O. Box 1755, Addis Ababa

Phone no. no.:   +251 11 637030

Working hours: Monday to Friday 07:00 -17:00

17.  Ethiopian Airlines Flight Schedule

Find our Ethiopian airlines flight schedule here.

18.  Ethiopian Airlines Baggage Allowance

Free baggage allowance on international and local Ethiopian airline routes is available based on the weight and size of your goods. The maximum weight for single baggage is –

-32 kg of single baggage for business class, max. the dimension of 158 cm (62 inches)

-23 kg for single baggage for economy class, max. the dimension of 158 cm (62 inches)

More weight per baggage won’t be accepted for check-in.

Find detail info here.

Tourist Visa and Transit Visa

19.  Visa

A tourist visa to Ethiopia is an electronic single-entry visa issued by the stage for tourism or other non-business-related purposes. Any applicant from any country who has a recent passport size photo and passport with more than 6 months left before expiration is eligible for a visa.

The visa process could take up to 3 days, therefore you may need to submit an application 3 days before arrival. If the arrival date changed, you need to contact the e-visa team [email protected]. You need to pay 52 USD for 30 days single entry and 72 USD for 90 days single entry.

Apply online for a visa into Ethiopia.

20.  Addis Ababa Airport Transit Visa  

As long as they say in a permitted transit area and depart in 12 hours, you don’t need Addis Ababa airport transit visa. You only need a visa if you stay longer for 8 hours or if you want to leave the airport. You can obtain a transit visa from the Addis Ababa bole airport or from the Ethiopian embassy or consulate. Everyone who enters the country except Kenya and Djibouti, need a visa to enter Ethiopia.

Transit visas could cost from 27 dollars for 12 hours to 63 dollars for 72 hours.  

Layover and Transit

21.  Transiting Through Addis Ababa Airport

What to do in Addis Ababa airport for a 20-hour connection?

Many people who are in a layover in Addis Ababa ask if they would be bored or would get basic accommodations in the city. It is always good to have in mind that Addis Ababa is not a bad city for visitors. With various service costs and a peaceful environment, you will surely enjoy your layover on a budget.

There are a few things you have to understand. First, if you are traveling both flights on Ethiopian airlines, and if your connecting flight is over 8 hours to 24 hours, then you surely will have a free hotel accommodation outside of the airport. You may have to ask on your first check-in. You will get a boarding pass and hotel voucher.

Second, with your passport, you may not enter the country. You may need a visa. Therefore, purchase one before your flight or request one at your arrival. It should serve you for a month. The hotel is very close and a bus shuttle will take you and bring you back on your flight schedule. At that time, you can visit the city with a tour bus or private tour.

How much do things cost? Breakfast would cost up from 2 dollars to 5 dollars depending on where you have it. Lunch and dinner also fall between these costs. Between entrance fees to museums and tourist destinations, and for a taxi you will pay up to 30 dollars. (of course, that is a lot if you know what to do you can save more than half)

Option 2 is to take a voucher to your hotel and take a taxi directly to local cultural restaurants. There you will experience the local food and local culture. A 4 dollars taxi will get you there.

22.  5 Hour Layover in Addis Ababa, can I get leave the airport Addis Ababa?

As discussed above only above 8 hours layovers get a visa. You can still enjoy the lounges. (See Tourist Visa and Transit Visa #25 and #26 section for more)

Related16 important things to do in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa’s quality of life and how much it costs in Addis Ababa?


23.  Local and international destinations

Ethiopian Airlines fly to 23 cities in the country. These include Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Assosa, Axum, Bahar Dar, Bale Robe, Dembidollo

Dire Dawa, Gambella, Gonder, Gode, Hawassa

Humera, Jijiga, Jimma, Jinka, Kabri Dar, Kombolcha, Lalibela

Mekelle, Semera, Shire , and Shilavo.

The airlines fly to 61 cities in Africa, 20 cities in Europe and north and south America and 25 cities in the Gulf, Middle East, and Asia.

Africa – 61 Cities (including Ethiopian cities)

Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Addis Ababa,Antananarivo ,Asmara,Bahir dar,

Bamako, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura,

Cairo, Cape Town,Comoros, Conakry, Cotonou,

Dakar, Dar-Es-Salaam, Dire dawa, Djibouti, Douala, Durban,

Entebbe, Enugu, Gaborone, Goma, Harare, Hargeisa,Johannesburg,Juba, 

Kaduna,Kano, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa,Kisangani

Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Lomé, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka

Malabo, Maputo, Mbuji-Mayi, Mekele, Mombasa

N’Djamena, Nairobi, Ndola, Niamey, Nosy Be 

Ouagadougou, Pointe-Noire, Seychelles, Victoria Falls

Windhoek, Yaoundé, Zanzibar.

Europe, North and South America 

Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Madrid, Rome, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, Paris, Chicago, Washington DC, Newark, Canada, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro.

Gulf, Middle East & Asia

Bahrain, Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut


Dammam, Delhi, Doha, Dubai

Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Jeddah

Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait

Manila, Moscow, Mumbai, Muscat

Riyadh, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Tokyo.

Related16 important things to do in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa’s quality of life and how much it costs in Addis Ababa?


24.  Ethiopian Airlines Crash

An Ethiopian airline passage flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed killing 157 people on board in March 2019. The eight were crew members. The ET302 only flew 6 minutes before it crashed in a town in Bishoftu. Passengers from Kenya, china, the united states, and Canada lost their lives.

According To a flight tracking platform flight radar24, based in Sweden, claimed that the vertical speed of the plane was unstable after take-off. Sadly, the same aircraft Boeing 737 Max has been crashed in Jakarta, a year prior.  

Necessary Gadgets

25.  Ethiopian Airlines App

Ethiopian airline’s app has few features. The first is a booking. You can book your flight, choose your meal-type and seat and even pay and purchase a ticket. The Sheba miles option is integrated as well. You will also see your past trip summary. You can check-in using the app and even see the flight status. The airline’s app is a great tool for traveling.

Find the free app here.

26.  Ethiopian Airlines Contact Number and address

-Ethiopian Airlines Official website

-Ethiopian Airlines Online Check-in

-Check Ethiopian Airlines flight status

Airport Offices- Ethiopia airlines phone number

Address: Bole International Airport

Phone no. no.:   +251115178320/455

Working hours: 24/7 throughout the year

-Manager of Corporate Communications

Tel: (+251-11) 517 8407 / 8907 / 8165 / 8529/8913

Fax: (+251-11) 661 1474

E-mail: [email protected]

-Baggage Service- Ethiopia airlines phone number

Phone no. no.: +251 11 5178306/+251-11-6650304

-Airport check-in counter

Phone no. no.: 251-11- 5178455/955

-General Mailing address-

P.O. Box 1755, Addis Ababa

Final words

In Addis Ababa or even the whole of Ethiopia, it is always better to ask questions if you are lost or if you need any help. The workers in the airlines are eager to help you.

There is sometimes high traffic, therefore, you may get off the plane to finish processing. The new terminal surely will help alleviate this problem soon.

You need to obtain a visa only if you are a tourist or if your layover is more than 8 hours and you need to leave the airport. A transit passenger doesn’t need a visa. If you stay at the airport (although you have above 8 hours layover, then you may not need a visa.

The best way to experience Addis Ababa with your few hours of transit visa is to catch a taxi to a local cultural restaurant and have the food and have fun with the ceremony. Don’t drink too much.

If you have more time, then go wild in the city. Take a metered taxi and go around the city and visit tourist destinations.

Using the Ethiopian airline’s app is the best way of booking and following your track record and even to follow your flight.

Although the airline had an accident recently, thought is a fault of the plane manufacturer, not the airline, the airline is growing each year. The new terminal will provide better service for its users.

Image source: “Bole Road, Addis Abeba” by Samuel Santos is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

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