By Naomi Szeben
Bell Textron Inc., delivered a Bell 505 helicopter to W.A. Oil Factory and Distribution PLC in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, its first corporate customer in the country.
W.A. Oil Factory and Distribution PLC was established in 2016 by CEO Worku Aytenew. The company’s portfolio of businesses includes mining, real estate and transportation, as well as the W.A. Oil Factory project. This oilseed crushing and crude oil refining factory, located at Debremarkos in Amhara Regional State, East Gojjam Zone, imports and distributes ETB 5 billion (USD 200 million) worth of palm oil.
The Bell 505 was delivered to Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, which has an elevation of 7,625 feet above MSL. The aircraft was delivered to one of Bell’s independent representatives for Africa, Africair’s Bell Customer Service Facility (CSF) in Nairobi, Kenya, where it was re-assembled and hangered until its ferry flight to Addis Ababa.
With this latest acquisition, there are almost 30 Bell 505s in operation across six countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Bell 505 is rated for a speed of 125 knots (232 kilometers per hour) and a useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms).