• Plans to restore first aircraft assembled in Ethiopia from Italy

The regulatory organ of air transport industry in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) on Thursday laid a cornerstone for a new headquarters building and aviation museum in its existing premise near the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. 

The cornerstone was laid in the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Meeting on Air Cargo Development in Africa held June 27-29 at the Addis Ababa UNECA Conference Hall.

The Minister of Transport Ahmed Shide, State Minister of Public Enterprises, Getachew Mengiste, and    Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu (PhD), president of the ICAO Council laid the cornerstone for the construction of the new headquarters building and aviation museum. Former President of Ethiopia, Girma Woldegiorgis, former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Girma Wake, senior executives of ECAA and the Ethiopian Airports Enterprise and other prominent personalities of the Ethiopian aviation industry attended the cornerstone laying ceremony.

The planned six storey building, which is estimated to cost some 400 million birr, will have offices, conference halls, aviation training school, aviation museum, sport and recreation centers. The design of the building was conducted by a local architectural firm K2N.

More than 70 years ago, in 1944, when the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Entity was first established, it had only three full time employees, and was carrying out its duties from a small office in the Golf-club premises.

Later on, as the duties and responsibilities of the entity increased and the organizational structure expanded, a need arose to transfer the headquarters to the Old Airport where Aviation Regulation, Air Navigation and Airport Services functions were undertaken for a long time.

Construction of the existing ECAA building was completed in the mid-1970s. Director General of ECAA Wossenyeleh Hunegnaw (Col) said that presently the number of employees and specialized fields have increased so much that office space is becoming a critical problem.

Though Ethiopia has a long history in the aviation world it does not have an aviation museum that depicts the long history of aviation development.   

According to Wossenyeleh, aircraft technology was introduced in Ethiopia in 1935 with the assembly of the first aircraft registered as Ethiopia-One. The aircraft was looted by invading Italian fascist forces and it is still found on display at a museum in Rome.

“We hope that when this new headquarters building is ready for service, it would restore Ethiopia-One to its rightful place besides solving the existing office space problems,” he said.

Anmut Lemma, promotion and public relations manager with ECAA, told The Reporter that ECAA would soon float a tender to hire a contractor. Anmut said the construction would commence in two months’ time.

ECAA manages the Ethiopian airspace, provides air navigation service, licenses airlines and aviation professionals, and inspects and certifies aircraft.