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Ethiopian Hands in Making Airbus
The Reporter (Addis Ababa)
January 28, 2006
Posted to the web January 30, 2006
By Keleyesus Bekele
Gebeyaw Embiale is an Ethiopian mechanical engineer, one of the engineers who designed different parts and components of aircraft for the European giant Airbus.
Gebeyaw was born and bred in Chagni, a small rural town in west Gojam, in the Amhara Regional State. He attended elementary and secondary schools in Chagni. In 1984, Gebeyaw left his hometown and joined the Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute. After three years, he earned his diploma in Agro-Mechanics. Since Gebeyaw graduated with a Very Great Distinction, the institute offered him a job. Without any hesitation he grabbed the opportunity and he began to teach in the institute. After two years, Gebeyaw got a scholarship and left for Germany. There he joined the renowned Humbolde University in Berlin, where Albert Einstein and other scientists used to work.
Gebeyaw studied mechanical engineering for five years and earned his Master's degree from Humbolde University. After graduation he moved to Stuttgart and started working for CEDIS mechanical Engineering Bureau. The company designs automotive parts for carmakers. "The company designs car body, cooling systems and engine parts. It supplies its products to the manufacturers of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Opel and other cars," says Gebeyaw. "I was one of the engineers who design automotive parts in CEDIS. I have a good knowledge of computer-aided designing programs (AD)," he said.
Though Gebeyaw enjoyed his job, he wanted to try another one. After serving Cedis for two years he moved to Humburg. "I went to Humburg, where the main airbus manufacturing plant [in Germany] is found because I wanted to design aircraft parts," Gebeyaw said.
In 2001 Gebeyaw joined another German company called 3D Contech. "3D Contech designs different parts and components for Airbus aircraft. The company is known for designing reliable products. Because of its commendable reputation, Airbus awards it several contracts," Gebeyaw says.
At present 3D Contech is designing components for Airbus 380, the largest twin-engine jetliner in the world that became airborne in January 2005. The A380, which has two decks (upper and lower deck), has 550 seats. "Since 2001 I have been engaged in designing different components for Airbus 380 aircraft. I work on components in the upper deck and lower deck, Gebeyaw says. According to Gebeyaw, he and another engineer from the UK, designed the luggage compartment of the A380. "Carl Robinson [the British engineer] and I first designed the cargo compartment called section 30," he says.
Airbus is an integrated company owned by four European countries (France, England, Germany and Spain). Headquartered in Toulouse, Airbus has manufacturing plants in different cities in Europe. Airbus Deutschland is undertaking a major share of A380 Production across its plants in Bremen, Dresden, Finken Werder, Laupherm, Nordenham Vgrel and Humburg. Airbus Deutschland invested 650 million euros (740 million dollars) for the production of A380. The German division has responsibility for the manufacture and assembly of the forward and fuselage components, the wings trailing edge flaps, cabin furnishing and painting. The final assembly line is found in Toulouse, the hometown of Airbus. The total cost of the A380 production program was 10.7 billion dollars. The price of A 380 aircraft is about 250 million dollars.
Rolls-Royce manufactures and supplies engines to the A380 aircraft. The giant aircraft made its debut flight in January 2005. The aircraft attracted more than 200 orders from international airlines. And the Singapore Airlines is the first airline to acquire A380 aircraft. Air France, Lufthansa, Arab Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Virgin Atlantic made early orders for the new aircraft.
Ethiopian is contemplating to buy Airbus aircraft. The management of Ethiopian is considering the Airbus aircraft. The 60-year-old national flag carrier operates Boeing aircraft. "We want to diversify our fleet. And we are holding talks with officials of Airbus," says Girma Wake, Ethiopian CEO. Girma said the management was evaluating Airbus' offers. "We are under-taking a study that will enable us to diversify our fleet," Girma adds.
Gebeyaw believes that Ethiopian will have comparative advantages if it acquires the A380 aircraft. "The aircraft is cheap when compared to other aircraft. It is fuel-efficient and it carries over 550 passengers," says Gebeyaw. The aircraft is made up of a light material called glare (glass fiber reinforced aluminium). Studies indicate that glare offers 15-30 percent weight savings over aluminium. "Glare is a new innovation aboard the A380. It is a light composite material used to build the body of A380. Since the weight of the aircraft is light it consumes less fuel," says Gebeyaw. "If Ethiopian acquires the A380 aircraft it would be able to transport a large number of passengers with less fuel and thinks this is a good advantage for the airline," he added.
Gebeyaw is now working with employees of Airbus in Humburg. Recently, other six Ethiopian engineers joined his team.
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