Initiative with the US company is expected to cost around $15 million in initial investments.
- The joint venture will primarily focus on producing aircraft thermo-acoustic insulation blankets, electrical wire harnesses, and other parts.
- As of early June, Ethiopian Airlines’ order book comprises 29 aircraft, including 17 Boeing 737 MAXs, five Boeing 777Fs, one Boeing 787-9, and six Airbus A350-1000s.
Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, is set to make aviation history as it enters a groundbreaking joint venture with Boeing to manufacture aircraft parts.
The collaboration, which is expected to cost around $15 million in initial investments, aims to bolster Ethiopia’s aerospace industry.
The Ethiopian Investment Commission announced the deal on August 18, revealing that the state-owned airline has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing and the local state Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC).
Ethiopia Airlines, Boeing joint venture
This strategic partnership will establish a cutting-edge aerospace factory at Kilinto industrial park, which is located to the south of the capital, Addis Ababa.
The joint venture will primarily focus on producing aircraft thermo-acoustic insulation blankets, electrical wire harnesses, and other essential parts.
Reports show that the initiative will generate at least 300 job opportunities for Ethiopians. This will significantly contribute to the country’s economic growth and technological advancement.
The Ethiopian government’s focus on fostering domestic and foreign investments in manufacturing industries is reflected in the involvement of the IPDC, a public enterprise dedicated to promoting industry development. To date, Ethiopian Airlines has invested over $14.7 million in the Kilinto industrial park.
With an existing fleet of about 140 aircraft, Ethiopian Airlines has ambitious plans for expansion. By 2035, the carrier envisions a fleet size of 271 aircraft. This growth strategy necessitates the acquisition of at least 130 additional planes to replace older models and meet rising demand.
As of early June, Ethiopian Airlines’ order book comprises 29 aircraft, including 17 Boeing 737 MAXs, five Boeing 777Fs, one Boeing 787-9, and six Airbus A350-1000s.
Carrier setting sights on Toronto and Montreal
In addition to expanding its network across Africa, the airline has set its sights on serving Australia. Australia is the only continent where Ethiopian Airlines does not fly into. Prospective routes to Australia will include potential stopovers in Singapore.
Ethiopian Airlines is seeking to enhance its presence in the Americas with keen focus on Toronto and Montreal. Other European destinations, such as Madrid and Lisbon, are also under its radar.
The deal with Boeing comes as African carriers, including Kenya Airways, face challenges due to supply chain disruptions. As a result, they are grappling with shortages of crucial aviation components such as titanium from Russia.
While its unclear whether Ethiopian Airlines is facing similar hurdles, the partnership with Boeing may help mitigate potential supply chain issues in the future.
In July, Kenya Airways initiated a five-year partnership with Lufthansa Technik, a company that deals in maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services. Lufthansa Technik will provide Total Component Support to Kenya Airways’ fleet of nine Boeing 787-8 aircraft through 2028.
By facilitating swift turnarounds for maintenance and repairs, the deal seeks to cut aircraft downtime, thereby amplifying operational efficiency.
The accord encompasses the provision of a set of vital elements, encompassing traditional MRO services. It also covers component supply, Aircraft On Ground support, efficient parts-pooling strategies, and logistics. This approach ensures that Kenya Airways receives a support system to bolster its fleet’s performance and longevity.
Ethiopia flag carrier’s growth plans
Ethiopian Airlines reported 20 per cent increase in earnings to $6.1 billion in its latest financial year. This serves as a strong foundation for the carrier’s target of becoming a major player in the global aviation industry.
As production plans commence and the aerospace facility takes shape at Kilinto industrial park, industry observers eagerly await the ripple effects of this landmark partnership between Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing.
The venture underscores Ethiopia’s determination to establish itself as a hub for aerospace manufacturing in Africa. It also sets a precedent for innovative collaborations between aviation industry leaders globally.