By Isaac Tersoo Agber
It takes good investment to achieve the best of goals and set-targets, pundits in the business world have always posed. And for an airline like Ethiopian, which has suddenly emerged the toast of Africa, investment is necessary in order to keep it flying at the highest altitude. The essence is to prove efficiency and guarantee safety of passengers. In line with this mindset and its 2025 vision as a strategic road map, Ethiopian Airlines Group has invested USD 100 million in breakthrough expansion and upgrading of its Aviation Academy.
The scale and scope of the expansion seals the Academy’s position as the largest and the finest Aviation Academy in Africa with annual intake capacity of 4,000 students. The new Ethiopian Aviation Academy has many class room buildings. The Technical block is housing the Pilot Training School and the Aviation Maintenance Training School; while the Commercial and Leadership block accommodates the Inflight Services Training School, Commercial and Ground Services School and Leadership School.
The academy also has an administrative building, auditorium, students’ dormitory, cafeteria and shops on the fringes. And as an Authorized Training Organization (ATO), the B-777, B-787, B737, B-767/757 and the Q-400 full flight simulators are made available to offer full type rating trainings for pilots.
Currently, the academy has the best aviation training technology like full range of fleet cabin emergency, evacuation and door trainers fitted with standard swimming pool for cabin crew ditching exercises and more than 20 pilot training aircraft, the finest expertise, dedicated and experienced instructors and a perfect environment for students.
Giving his impression about the academy, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, said: “Education is the greatest equalizer in today’s global village. We are proud to be in a position to avail the latest and next generation aviation technology training machines and facilities where we can train the continent’s youth and prepare them for the 21st century African Aviation development. The Ethiopian Aviation Academy is positioning itself to be the catalyst leader in aviation training technology in supporting the African Union to realize its vision 2063.”
The academy has been recognized as a full ICAO TRINNAIR PLUS member and has, also, been accredited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as an Authorized Training Center (ATC). It was recognized as Airline Training Services Provider of the Year in 2014 by AFRAA. It is certified by the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, the U.S Federal Aviation Administration, the European Aviation Safety Agency and IOSA (International Air transport Association (IATA) safety Audit). And with the upgrading, the academy will be able to take 4000 students a year at the end of 2025.
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It would be recalled that the academy recently graduated 143 professional aviators in various ratings, proving its ranks as one of the best trainers of aviation professionals in Africa. With this feat and other set-paces Ethiopian Airlines has demonstrated, there is no doubt the airline is currently Africa’s largest and most profitable airline, expanding rapidly in anticipation towards achieving its 2025 vision.
The airline is also working on a new cargo terminal, expected to be operational towards the end of 2016. It will have an annual storage for both dry and perishable goods weighing 1.2 million tons with the capacity to handle eight B747800 freighters at any a time, the airline disclosed. Construction of just the first phase will cost the airline about a total of US$ 150 million, aside the academy project cost.
Apart from the cargo and the academy projects, construction of a four star hotel is ongoing in the series of development taking place at Ethiopian Airlines. The hotel is built on 40,000sqm located in front of Millennium Hall on Bole Road, and will be due for operation in 24 months.