Ethiopian trip support firm Krimson Aviation plans to set up an FBO, likely in East Africa, as it completes an investment round before the end of the year. The company intends to break ground on this new facility in January.
“It won’t be in Ethiopia,” Krimson founder and CEO Dawit Lemma told AIN. “We’re signing documents, and we’re investing. It takes six months to a year to build. In January, we’re hoping to finish the process of identifying a location, going ahead, and then starting the regulatory procedures.”
Ethiopia’s civil war has dragged on for two years, although hopes rose with the November 2 signing of a truce between the two sides in Pretoria, South Africa. “I’d have to say that the last year has been a rollercoaster, a hurricane, and a tornado, all in one,” he said. "Good and bad, but progression, too."
And the emergence of the Ukraine crisis hot on the heels of Covid was causing huge problems. “Inflation is a major problem,” he said. “Fuel prices are a major problem. Interestingly enough, airplanes are still flying, but we definitely saw a dip in requests from April. Of course, in the natural summer months, there’s always a dip. As of September, we’re back to full speed ahead in terms of number of operations.
“To be perfectly honest, for us, for our business, conflict—and I hate to say this—generates business for Krimson. It increases the number of military operations—military flights, a lot of military cargo flights, delivery of goods—the humanitarian situation drives the scope of humanitarian operations.”
Meanwhile, Lemma said business aviation was changing in Africa as the continent shook off the Covid pandemic. “It’s actually doing well,” he said. “Africa is resilient. We just keep getting hit with one crisis after another and we just take it, to be honest.”
He regards the business today as a pan-African, rather than simply Ethiopian, concern. “We’re definitely pan-African,” he said. “We have crossed a threshold where we actually have an equal number of operations outside of Ethiopia, compared to inside the country.”
He said the company’s focus today is the Horn of Africa. “We do get ad hoc requests for random countries like Gabon or Liberia,” he said. “Our core market is the Horn of Africa.”
Krimson’s competencies and market strength lie in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, South Sudan, and part of Sudan. It also has agents on the ground in Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Juba, and Asmara. “There’s just a lot of growth happening,” he said. “Regardless of the conflict in Ethiopia, this region of Africa is probably the least developed compared to other areas. Development is exponential.”