Progress Report by Captain Asress Araia
To day the last detail of the contract was ironed out and agreed upon. The Airplane is in the state of being prepared- and the provisioning of essential parts and equipments is being handled. We are embarking on this daunting task at a time when most Airlines are facing financial challenges that are threatening their very existence, therefore it legitimate to ask whether the timing for the start of this airline makes sense. All of us in Eritrean Airlines believe that the timing is not only right but also opportunistic. The project is starting with the basic must have elements- the demand ( the market), the ability to foster the growth of the market- and the availability of key personnel with Technical and other Aviation Expertise. Over the last fifty Years many Eritreans have worked in the Airline industry and have been part of its growth and survival. Many of these experts are still active in Aviation and as the operation grows they will be part of this nascent Airline. The Market has two aspects- one is the Market as it exists now and the Potential Market that we plan and can develop. All these past years we have been observing that the Cargo movement has been from Europe to Africa with very little going to Europe from Africa. This trend will change as we are preparing exportable Raw Materials which will support our Cargo carrying capability. We are already heavily booked to transport considerable amount of Cargo to Europe and the Middle East.
The fact that we were unable to develop this mode of transport has had direct negative effect on our economic growth, on our ability to effectively connect our country to the world, on our ability to travel to and from markets of our interest, from enabling our business men to create contacts, and our young men and women from frequently visiting Home. Eritrea is a Natural for Aviation. Our plans are not limited to just flying two airplanes up and down the Route. We are determined to create a trained Work Force which will strengthen our ability to compete. Within two months one of the most advanced Aviation schools will open its' doors to sixty young men and women who are already graduates of well organized technical schools, who will join us to become Aircraft Engineers. They will be trained to International Standards and will have FAA or equivalent matriculation. The Pilot training school will also start with a modest number of students. University Graduates will join us as Management Trainees. I am also inviting Eritreans with Engineering, Marketing and Management training to join us. Our strength is our determination to develop our human resources. We firmly believe that we have what it takes not material resources but the development of our Human resources. This will be the focus of this effort.
Finally our trip to Asmara is now firmly set for the 10th of April out of San Antonio. Those of you who want to be part of this Historic journey need to have made all the necessary arrangement by the end of this month as we need to send details of the passports and status to the FAA. You will need to make arrangements with the designated travel Agencies for the return trip. Eritrean Airlines will do its best to make your trip memorable and fruitful. We hope to invite you to a seminar to explore ways you can participate in the creation of Tourist and Aviation related businesses. The seat allotment will be on first come first served basis. I apologize for the creeping delay- but when we meet on the plane - I promise to give you the complete picture of how we managed to put this business together and why I think the future is so bright.
With all my best wishes Asress Araia (Captain)