The African air transport industry is marked by its low level of security and by a poor management of certain national companies. The lack of qualified staff is one of the main reasons for this situation. The public company Ethiopian Airlines (EAL) is a positive exception. For over 60 years, it has been developing reliable and safe air transport services in Ethiopia, on the continent and beyond. The company is backed by a strong integration of the different professional activities, particularly through its vocational training center, which is open to other airlines. Ethiopian Airlines’ vocational training center was set up in 1956. It is open to foreign students, and currently receives trainees from 45 different countries. It provides initial and continuous training in 4 main fields: Piloting (about 12 pilots trained every year); Aircraft maintenance (300 mechanics trained every year); Cabin crew; Marketing. However, in order to meet the growing needs of the company’s strategic plan, the center needs to upgrade its facilities, equipment (sometimes outdated), teaching methods, and build its capacities.
The aim of the project was to increase the size and quality of initial and continuous training for pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians, cabin crew and ground staff. This project comprised the construction of buildings, the provision of teaching equipment, and new accommodation and general service facilities. The total project cost stands at EUR 50m, with EUR 30m financed by AFD through a direct loan with a low level of concessionality, whilst the remainder was financed by Ethiopian Airlines’ own equity. This training center was inaugurated by the Ethiopian Prime Minister on 7 February 2016.
This project supports the company’s ambitious development plan. It contributes to the outreach of Ethiopia which, through this project, is demonstrating its ability to train and employ skilled staff appreciated by both the company and other airlines, such as the Gulf companies. Finally, it heralds the creation, based on the Ethiopian Airlines Training Center, of a civil aviation academy, which will reinforce Ethiopian Airlines’ position as a company providing a number of skilled jobs, with an objective of 4,000 persons trained every year by 2025.
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