Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Chinese firm snags USD 100 mln contract from Ethiopian

The national flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines has awarded a new maintenance hangar construction project worth 100 million dollars to the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) after a competitive bid, Capital has learnt.
“The maintenance hangar has been awarded to AVIC and we are talking about the financing of the project. We will finance it through loan arrangements with a Chinese bank,” Ethiopian Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam told Capital.
The maintenance hangar the Chinese state-owned AVIC will build for Ethiopian is going to raise the number of hangars Ethiopian has to four.
According to Tewolde the hangar construction project should commence in the first quarter of 2012 with scheduled completion within 900 days from the start.
AVIC had to impress the management of Ethiopian in both technical and financial evaluations to receive the project which is part of a multimillion facility expansion projects the airliner is undertaking.
A bid inviting firms to compete for the construction of a new maintenance hangar for Ethiopian was issued in 2011 when the carrier launched the multi-million dollar expansion projects. The expansion is aimed at meeting Ethiopian’s vision 2025 that should evolve the airliner into a diversified aviation group.
Other than the 100 million dollar maintenance hangar; new headquarters, expanding the aviation academy and constructing a simulator building for different fleet types including for the Boeing 787 aircraft are also among facilities tasked to meet the fifteen year strategic plan embarked in January, 2011 when CEO Tewolde took office.
International passenger, domestic and regional, cargo, maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO), aviation academy, and in-flight catering and ground services are the envisioned independent business units that will come under the umbrella of what will be known as The Ethiopian Group at the successful completion of vision 2025.
“The new maintenance hangar is one of the facility projects Ethiopian is undertaking in line with vision 2025. Ethiopian anticipates huge expansion, and the existing hangars cannot accommodate the anticipated growth.  Ethiopian has also been targeting the growing market for third party maintenance,” said Wogayehu Terefe, Manager of Ethiopian PR and Publications, in an emailed response.
Further advancing Ethiopian aircraft and aircraft parts’ maintenance business ambitions, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has granted EASA Part 145 Approval to Ethiopian MRO.
“This approval authorizes Ethiopian MRO Division to repair airplanes and aircraft components of airlines registered under any European Union member country, and issue EASA Airworthiness Certificates,” Ethiopian said in a statement issued on December 30.
The B767 and B757 fleet line maintenance, base airframe maintenance and component maintenance are included within the scope of the approval.
“The approval enables Ethiopian Airlines to attract more Airline Customers in Africa, Middle East, and possibly Europe to use the Ethiopian MRO services for the maintenance of their aircraft and components. This is expected to bring additional revenue to the Ethiopian Aviation Group in line with Vision 2025 Strategy,” said Mesfin Tassew, Chief Operating Officer of Ethiopian.
The Ethiopian MRO worked for more than a year to align its processes with EASA Part 145 requirements. EASA had conducted a rigorous audit of the Ethiopian MRO facilities and processes, and confirmed full compliance to its standards before it issued the approval.
Ethiopian MRO is approved by Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other national CAAs in the region for several decades now. This addition of EASA Approval will enable Ethiopian MRO to issue all internationally recognized maintenance certificates for airplanes and components.