Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has entered talks with global aircraft and parts manufacturers to establish an aerospace manufacturing industry in its home country.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told AIN that Ethiopian has spoken with Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, UTAS, and Safran to jointly incorporate an aerospace manufacturing company in Ethiopia. “We are holding discussions with these global aviation giants on the possibility that we can incorporate the company together,” he said. “We not only want to manufacture and supply the products, but we also want them to have a stake in the planned project.”
Ethiopian’s MRO outfit already boasts many years of experience in maintaining aircraft and engines. “Using our long years of MRO experience we want to establish an aerospace industry in Ethiopia that designs and manufactures various aircraft parts,” GebreMariam said.
Ethiopian runs a small wire harness kit manufacturing facility at its main hub in Addis Ababa. The facility manufactures and supplies wire harnesses to Boeing. But now the airline hopes to establish a full-fledged aerospace manufacturing plant in the capital city, where it would manufacture wire kits, sheet metal, machine parts, and thermal blankets.
Mesfin Tassew, Ethiopian COO, told AIN that Ethiopian has agreed in principle with Airbus to start manufacturing certain aircraft parts. “It is under discussion,” he said.
Ethiopian is also in the process of manufacturing thermal blankets used between the fuselage and cabin to maintain cabin temperature. “We are going to start manufacturing the blanket here in Ethiopia in partnership with Boeing,” Tassew said.
It also plans to manufacture sheet metal, machine parts and wire kits for Bombardier in partnership with Fokker.
On July 5 Ethiopian Airlines Group signed a partnership agreement that calls for it to manufacture and supply seat covers, safety belts, carpets, and other interior parts to Germany’s ACM Aerospace. It also has signed a memorandum of understanding with South African aerospace engineering company Aerosaud to cooperate in manufacturing aircraft parts in Ethiopia.