10 December 2017

Ethiopia: Investor Spreads its Wings With New Aircrafts

The aircraft business pioneer acquires three new ERJ jet aeroplanes for quarter of a billion Birr

Dawit Gebreigziabher, an investor and aircraft business pioneer, bought three new 50 passenger-seat ERJ jet aeroplanes for a quarter of a billion Birr.

It was from Embraer, a Brazillian aerospace conglomerate that he made the purchase and the transactions with the company were finalised last month. While only one of the planes has arrived in the country and the remaining two are expected in the coming weeks, according to Dawit.

Embraer S.A. was founded in Brazil in 1969 as a State-owned company and privatised in 1994. Embraer designs manufacture and sell a range of aircrafts for commercial airlines and defence, in addition to executive jets. It is headquartered in São José dos Campos, São Paulo state.

Dawit became the first to own a private air transport service in Ethiopia, with Gosh Air Transport in 1996. The flight service had two 20-passenger aeroplanes that were manufactured in the United States (US). Currently, he is the co-owner of National Airways with Captain Abera Lemi. The Company began operations seven years ago with three leased planes.

The new passenger jet planes have a flight range of 2,800Km and could be used for charter, tourism and other business flights within the country as well as in neighbouring countries. The planes have also been registered and received a license from the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise.

The planes will be housed in a hangar that will be built on a 2,000sqm plot the National Air Service has secured from Bole International Airport, according to Dawit. The aircrafts were bought for a price of three million dollars each, without any loans from the bank.

Dawit recently sold 25pc of his stake in Raya Brewery to BGI for 4.45 billion Br.

"There is no connection between the purchase and the stakes in Raya Brewery I recently sold off," he said, "I did not even get my money yet."

As the company will start operations immediately after the arrival of the planes, pilots of National Air Service have already begun specific training on the ERJ planes in South Africa.

Anticipating to partner with the Ethiopian Airlines, Dawit hopes to contribute to the development of air transportation in the country as well as create jobs and change the image of the nation.

Ahmed Kellow (PhD), a well-experienced consultant in the aviation industry, appreciates the move of the investor as it will increase the private flight service capacity in tourism and other industries.

There are 13 registered private airline operators in the aviation industry, of which three provide pilots, ground technician' and cabin crew training in addition to flight services. The other two give consultancy and aviation facilitation services.

The 13 private operators provide chartered flights, VIP flight services, air ambulance and other fast transportation services for mine exploration and tourism.


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