Ethiopian Airlines has inaugurated an aerospace manufacturing facility built at a cost of $6 million.
Ethiopian in collaboration with the Italian Aerospace manufacturing company, Geven, has established a joint venture company called Ethiopian Sky Technologies.
At the inauguration ceremony Ethiopian Group CEO Mesfin Tassew disclosed that the manufacturing facility has started manufacturing and supplying insulation blanket for Boeing 737MAX jetliners. “We have already supplied six ship set insulation blankets to Boeing. Our plan is to manufacture and supply up 40 ship set per year,” Mesfin said.
Ethiopian Airlines has been trying to establish an aerospace manufacturing industry in Ethiopia by partnering with aircraft manufacturers. Since 2009 Ethiopian has been manufacturing and supplying wire harness to Boeing.
Mesfin told Origins Business that Ethiopian has invested $6 million in the new manufacturing facility. “This manufacturing facility would be too small. This is only the beginning and we will expand it,” he said.
Ethiopian Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Boeing in June 2019 to make Addis Abeba an aviation hub in Africa.
According to Mesfin, for the time being Ethiopian Sky Technologies manufactures and supplies insulation blanket for only B737MAX aircraft. However, there is a plan to manufacture similar products for other Boeing aircraft.
Mesfin said the aerospace manufacturing industry will bring knowledge transfer, generate hard currency and create jobs.
Henock Lemma, CEO of Ethiopian Sky Technologies, told Origins Business that effort is underway to manufacture and supply the insulation blanket to Boeing 787 aircraft.
“Negotiation is underway to supply products to Airbus and other aircraft manufacturers. In addition to Insulation blankets we can also manufacture and supply other aircraft parts such as aircraft panels,” Henock said.
According to Henock, the insulation blanket manufacturing facility is certified by Boeing. So far, the new joint venture company has employed 50 people—21 of them have been trained by Geven in Italy.
Getachew Mengistie, Director General of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, Mamo Mihiretu, CEO of the Ethiopian Investment Holdings, Sandokan Debebe, CEO of the Industrial Parks Development Corporation, Alberto Veneruso, Managing Director of Geven, and Italian ambassador to Ethiopia Agostino Palese attended the inauguration ceremony.