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Krimson Aviation
FBO/Handler (Bole International / Addis Ababa)

Addis Ababa (Bole) Airport

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Krimson achieves handling lift off in Ethiopia
Swiss-born Dawit Lemma, who is of Ethiopian origin, has brought international standards of service to local operations. Launched in 2015, his company has just completed a 150th flight handling milestone.
Krimson MD Dawit Lemma (second from right) welcomes the crew of Bestfly, Krimson's 150th flight.

Krimson Aviation, the Ethiopia-based trip planning and flight support company, has marked the handling of its 150th flight this month. The company is based at Addis Ababa Bole International airport, and welcomed a flight from Angola-based aviation services company Bestfly. The Global Express is one of 17 managed aircraft in the Bestfly fleet and the company is a regular Krimson client. The crew required landing permits, fuelling, crew hotel accommodation and ground transportation.

This milestone reflects the growth experienced by Krimson since its launch three years ago; the company managed just 15 flights in its first two years. It also reflects the rapid growth of the African aviation business aviation sector. Founder and managing director Dawit Lemma attributes the rise in activity to a number of factors: an increase in clients from international handling companies that recognise the value of using a local company that understands regulatory, cultural and business nuances; the ability to meet international expectations within the local environment, making flight operations more efficient and giving passengers and crews a better Ethiopian experience; and an expansion in locations served.

The company began handling requests solely for Addis Ababa Bole airport, but in 2018 it extended this to all major ports of entry in and out of Ethiopia including Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa and Mekelle airports. Trip planning and flight handing for flights originating or departing from a number of smaller Ethiopian airports such as Arba Minch, Dessie and Gondar, strengthened its position. Business growth has also been fuelled by expansion beyond Ethiopia as Krimson now regularly supports flight operations in Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A strong financial structure and a good commercial reputation continue to provide solid foundations for further organic business growth.

“I'm proud what we've achieved, but I'm even more proud of our culture of service,” says Switzerland-born Lemma. “We've introduced Swiss efficiency to the Ethiopian landscape which gives our clients real confidence and enables us to manage even the most complex of challenges.

“One that really sticks in my mind is a medical evacuation out of Gondar. It required significant coordination with multiple authorities, the medevac operator and a local air ambulance service. We used both our flight support and charter brokerage services in the same operation, and the passenger was able to receive the medical attention she needed. We also established precedents now used by all operators and agencies when faced with similar circumstances.”

Lemma identifies the biggest operational challenge as obtaining clearances for aircraft landing outside of Addis Ababa Bole International airport, especially when it is a non-port of entry. These clearances require a significant amount of documentation to be submitted to the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Defense. By establishing trust with both, Krimson has reduced the time to obtain the clearances and built a customer base which values access to the permits.

“We have managed to show everyone that we are a company that operates ethically, and follows the right guidelines and laws,” he says. Looking forward, he estimates that Krimson is on course to manage 200 flights and obtain 300 permits in 2019 alone as the business continues to offer full flight support, ground handling, charter brokerage and other aviation services within Ethiopia and east Africa.

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