Ethiopia: New Pilot School established by Seasoned Ethiopian Captain

Addis Ababa (HAN) November 30, 2014.  Public diplomacy and Regional Infrastructure  investment news.  Former captain of Ethiopian Airlines, Mulatu Lemlemayehu, owner of Dreamliner Hotel, is establishing a new private airline and pilot training school, East African Aviation, with an outlay of 57 million birr.

Captian Mulat is a seasoned pilot who served Ethiopian Airlines for 39 years and has accumulated 27,000 flight hours under his belt. While working for the national flag carrier he commanded aircraft from the old DC3 to the state-of-the-art jetliner, Dreamliner.

Mulat founded an investment company called M.T.D.N and built Dreamliner Hotel in Addis Ababa near Meskel Flower eight years ago. He started talking about the new business venture with his former colleagues a year ago. He retired from Ethiopian Airlines last August.

M.T.D.N owns the new private airline, East African Aviation, and the pilot training school. Captain Lemma Tekalign, general manager of East African Aviation, told The Reporter that the company was undertaking a feasibility study and working on paperwork for the last one year. Lemma said that the company submitted application to the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA). “They evaluated our application swiftly and approved the documents. To give us the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and license for the pilot training school they are waiting for the arrival of the aircraft that we bought,” Captain Lemma said.

East African Aviation will provide charter flight services. It will provide VIP flights and flight services for international organizations, tourists, construction and mining companies. It will offer flight services for aerial survey and mapping work. The new private airline will also offer medical evacuation (air ambulance services).

There will also be an aero club where individuals who want to fly for leisure will be enrolled as members and fly for a few hours during their leisure time.

According to the GM, East African Aviation recently bought three aircraft. For the airline operation the company both King Air 200 aircraft at a cost of two million dollars from a US-based company. The aircraft is expected to arrive at Bole International Airport after one month. East African Aviation is planning to offer an air ambulance service. “We are contemplating to bring Eurocopter and Cessna Citation aircraft that are fully equipped with oxygen and all other emergency medical equipment.”

 East African Aviation bought two trainer aircraft, Cessna172, from a Sweden-based company, Air Unlimited, for EUR 380,000. The Cessna aircraft are now in Antwerp, Belgium, undergoing some modification work. Lemma expects to receive them after four weeks. “We hope to be operational in January tentatively. Once we receive the aircraft ECAA will issue us the necessary licenses,” he said.

The company also bought two flight simulators for the pilot training school at a cost of 390,000 dollars. The company bought one Cessna and one King Air simulator from a US-based company, Redbird Flight International. The flight simulators are on their way to Djibouti Port.

The pilot training school has dormitories and a canteen which can accommodate 24 cadets at a time. The school has auditoriums, briefing rooms and a library. Theoretical part of the training will be given in the premise of the school while the flight lesson will be offered at the Bole International Airport.

The school will offer Private Pilot License (PPL) and Commercial Pilot License (CPL). It will take a cadet four month to complete a PPL training program. The CPL training takes 14 months. The tuition fee for PPL is USD 23,000 while the CPL training costs USD 66,500. “These costs include accommodation, meals, uniforms and other expenses. There is no hidden cost here,” Captain Lemma said.

“We will not make money out of the school. We just want to offer an internationally recognized service in Ethiopia. It could be profitable after seven or eight years. The tuition might seem expensive for those who are not in the aviation industry. Fuel cost is cumbersome,” he said.

According to Lemma, the trainer aircraft are equipped with a state-of-the-art flight instrument. “We want to make it a five star flight school.”

Lemma is a veteran Ethiopian Air Force pilot and former director of the Ethiopian Airlines pilot training school. The headquarters of East African Aviation and pilot training school is located in front of the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy off the ring road. The school has already hired four instructors and hopes to admit 24 cadets.