Ethiopia’s Aquarius Aviation PLC concluded contract with the American Cessna Aircraft Company, to purchase two Cessna Caravan airplanes for USD 3.2. The planes which have a 39 seat-capacity are expected to be delivered within a year.

When the agreement is finalized in the coming month, Aquarius will be expected to pay 30 percent upfront, according to Frehiwot Tessema, general manager of Aquarius Aviation.

Aquarius, previously known as Aberdair, changed its name after confusion was created in the market, with people mistaking it for the Kenyan ‘Aberdair Ltd’.

“Some people thought it was a branch of the Kenyan company and Aberdair Ltd also tried to take advantage of this, by claiming that we were their branch,” added Frehiwot.

Currently, Aquarius has four chartered airplanes with up 16 seat capacity for its domestic flight services. Three of its airplanes are currently under contract for one year by different companies, one of which is Tullow Oil, an oil exploration company working in Southern Ethiopia.

“We do not have a flight schedule right now,” Frehiwot told Fortune. “That is why we need these two planes as soon as possible.”

Aquarius operated planes leased from the NAC of South Africa and Nomad of Tanzania. Lease for two of single motor planes is USD 950 an hour and the double motor planes are USD 1,250 an hour, according to Shiferaw Heyi, finance and administration manager for Aquarius.

“The rental fees are increasing and becoming a huge cost since we have to pay in dollars,” said Frehiwot. “That is the other reason why we need to buy our own planes.”

Aquarius was established in September 2009 with a capital of five million Birr. Aquarius now provides services for embassies, multinational companies, the United Nations (UN) and tourists.

Source: Fortune

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