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Ethiopian to establish aerospace manufacturing industry
Mesfin Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines chief operating officer

Ethiopian to establish aerospace manufacturing industry

The Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Group is planning to establish an aerospace manufacturing industry in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Airlines maintenance department has a small wire harness manufacturing facility that manufactures and supply wire to be installed in Boeing aircraft. However, now the national flag carrier is planning to establish a full-fledged aerospace manufacturing industry that design and manufacture various aircraft parts. The airline hopes to manufacture and supply aircraft parts to global aircraft manufacturers including Boeing and Airbus.    

Mesfin Tasew, Ethiopian Airlines chief operating officer, told The Reporter that in line with the Ethiopian government’s industrialization strategy the airline is planning to develop an aerospace manufacturing industry that employs young university graduates. Mesfin said that Ethiopian will establish the aerospace manufacturing industry as a new business unit in partnership with aircraft and engine manufacturers.

“It is at an embryonic stage now. But we are in discussion with several manufactures including Boeing, Airbus, HoneyWell, and Bombardier. We have seen the opportunity is there. Today we have small wire kit manufacturing facility. It is an aerospace manufacturing facility though it is at micro level.”

According to Mesfin, Ethiopian has agreed with Airbus to start manufacturing certain aircraft parts. “It is under discussion,” he said.

Ethiopian is also in the process to manufacture aircraft heat shield blanket that is installed at the aircraft fuselage exterior and the cabin. It is used to maintain the cabin temperature. “We are going to start manufacturing the blanket here in Ethiopia in partnership with Boeing.”

Ethiopian and Airbus have agreed to manufacture certain aircraft parts in Ethiopia. Ethiopian is also planning to manufacture some aircraft parts like sheet metals, machine parts and wire kit for Bombardier, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer. “We are planning to manufacture these parts for Bombardier in partnership with Fokker, a company that supports Bombardier,” Mesfin said.

Ethiopian has signed a memorandum of understating with a South African aerospace engineering company ,Aerosaud, to cooperate in manufacturing aircraft parts in Ethiopia. “Aerospace manufacturing industry requires special care, design and quality control. And we are going to do the job in partnership with aircraft manufacturers,” Mesfin said.

The manufacturing facility will be approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration, European Aviation safety Agency and certified by aircraft manufacturers.   

Ethiopian aerospace manufacturing industry will recruit young university and technical school graduates. There is no aeronautical engineering department in any of the universities in the country. But Ethiopian hopes to work with the Addis Ababa University Faculty of Science and Technology and other universities and technical schools. “We will hire young engineers and train them,” Mesfin said.