Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest airline group and MRO operator, has expanded the capabilities of its maintenance facilities with the inauguration of a CFM Leap-1B engine test cell in Addis Ababa. 

The new test cell at the company’s MRO Services facility in the Ethiopian capital enables the company to offer full testing capability of the engine, which is used on all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. 

Mesfin Tasew, Ethiopian CEO, said he was proud of the expansion of the facilities, he said: “The addition of this state-of-the-art facility will enable us to finalize the development of Performance Restoration Shop Visit (PRSV1) repair capability on the engine, which is expected to be ready very soon.” 

With the inauguration of the Leap-1B test cell, Ethiopian becomes the first in the Middle East and Africa to service the engine to this level, outside of the Safran Aero Engines and General Electric network. 

The expansion continues the airline’s dominant position in the African MRO market, with the Addis Ababa facility already the largest in the continent and the company expecting to complete phase two of its PRSV1 project by September 2024. 

Ethiopian’s investments come as the African aviation industry looks to build on the growing demand for air travel in the region, which is expected to more than quadruple in the next 20 years as traffic grows above the global average. 

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The airline’s other investments have included a fleet growth and modernisation plan which recently saw it place an order for up to 12 777-9 planes with Boeing.