ASKY Airlines based in Lomé,Togo and shareholder, Ethiopian Airlines are planning to establish an aircraft MRO and training center in West Africa. This is a significant development as West Africa currently does not have any local stations capable of heavy maintenance. The International Aviation Group (IAG) and Arik Air may also seek to get a slice of the region’s MRO pie.
Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, explained that ASKY was in discussions with the Togolese government and that if approved, the MRO facility will cater to Boeing and Bombardier aircraft. The training facility will train back-office staff and cabin crew.
He said: "Our main MRO hub remains in Addis Ababa and [we] will have regional MRO hubs in Lomé, Lilongwe and Kigali [home to partner RwandAir]. Our planned Lomé MRO hub would maintain aircraft operating in Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal.” IAG plans to establish an MRO facility in Abuja, Nigeria.
This comes in the wake of local industry stakeholders berating the government for the lack of an MRO facility, which they claim is part of the reason for the high demand of foreign exchange in the industry, lack of developed technical manpower and the inability of Nigeria to carry out C-checks and D-checks.
Yesterday (August 9) James Odaudu, deputy director, press and public affairs, at Nigeria’s ministry of aviation, said the venture was because IAG saw potential in the following factors: the huge traffic in and out of the country, the need to reduce the cost of maintaining aircraft abroad and the chance of attracting work from neighboring countries. In addition, IAG intends to start a Nigerian aviation academy that will be affiliated to a UK-based university.
Lagos’ Arik Air has also been considering setting up its own MRO hangars in Nigeria in collaboration with its German partner, Lufthansa Technik.