The Pan-African airline, ASKY, is planning to establish regional Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Center and an Aviation Academy in Lomé, Togo that would cater services to the West African region in partnership with its strategic partner, Ethiopian Airlines.
Henok Tefera, CEO of ASKY Airlines, told The Reporter that the management of ASKY in partnership with its strategic partner, Ethiopian Airlines, is planning to establish an MRO Center that would provide aircraft maintenance services to West Africa. The MRO Center would primarily maintain Bombardier and Boeing Aircraft that ASKY and Ethiopian Airlines operate.
“We are planning to establish an MRO center not only for ASKY but for the whole West African region. There is a tremendous demand for MRO services in West Africa. And we are looking at the modalities of setting up a regional MRO hub with Ethiopian Airlines,” Henok said.
The CEO said that ASKY is also planning to establish a pilot and technician training center that would train aviation professionals in West Africa. “We also plan to train commercial staff, cabin crew and finance. These types of trainings for the region are essential for French speaking countries in particular. We want to set it up in Lomé with our strategic partner – Ethiopian Airlines.”
Henok said by 2020 ASKY plans to make Lomé a hub not only for air service but also for aircraft maintenance hub as well as a hub for aviation training. “It is a big plan and it is an ambitious plan of making Lomé a hub for travel and aviation services,” he said.
The strategic partner of ASKY – Ethiopian Airlines – has a reputable MRO Center at its main hub Addis Ababa, certified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The MRO Center is certified by Boeing, Pratt and Whitney and Bombardier as a regional MRO Service provider.
Ethiopian Aviation Academy established in the 1960s trains pilots, technicians, cabin crew and marketing professionals. It is accredited by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and the African Civil Aviation Commission as an African Aviation Academy. Recently, Ethiopian inaugurated a major expansion project in the aviation academy built and equipped at a cost of 100 million dollars.
As part of Ethiopian Airlines Vision 2025, a 15-year growth strategy, the airline is implementing a multi-hub strategy. Ethiopian has established its second hub in Lomé and the third hub in Lilongwe, Malawi. It is also in the process of forging strategic partnership with RwandAir, the national carrier of Rwanda.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, told The Reporter that his airline is committed to establish MRO Center and Aviation Academy in West Africa in partnership with ASKY. “As part of our Vision 2025 growth strategy we want to establish MRO centers in different parts of Africa. When we say we have a multi-hub strategy it is not only for transporting passengers. Our main MRO hub remains in Addis Ababa and will have regional MRO hubs in Lomé, Lilongwe and Kigali. Our planned Lomé MRO hub would maintain aircraft operating in Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal,” Tewolde said.
Ethiopian MRO has been maintaining aircraft coming from West Africa for decades. “Instead of coming all the way to Addis Ababa from West Africa, it is better to maintain them in Lomé,” Tewolde said. According to him, Ethiopian and ASKY are holding discussions with the Government of Togo on the establishment of the MRO hub.
Tewolde said Ethiopian’s second plan is to establish a pilot and technician training school in Lomé that would train cadets coming from francophone countries. “In Ethiopian Aviation Academy, in Addis Ababa, we train pilots and technicians from francophone countries in English because ICAO’s preferred language is English. But in the planned Lome aviation academy we can train in French.”
ASKY was established by the private sector in West Africa in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines in 2008. The Pan-African airline became operational in 2010. Today, it serves 23 destinations with nine aircraft in West and Central Africa. The airline declared its first profit of five million dollars for the 2015 fiscal year on July 1, 2016.