www.thereporterethiopia.com By Kaleyesus Bekele
Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has teamed up with the global IT giant, Microsoft, to launch young Ethiopian IT professionals training center.

Ethiopian IT department has joined forces with Microsoft 4Afrika on ICT skills development program. The collaboration aimed at launching a new App Factory in Ethiopia. According to Microsoft 4Afrika, the Factory will train young ICT graduates and equip them with skills that would enable them to become ICT professionals and software engineers in the airline industry. After completing their apprenticeship, the young graduates will have access to jobs at Ethiopian Airlines and its affiliate airlines in Africa.

Ethiopian IT department heads, representatives of Microsoft and Sabre — the US IT solutions provider — on Thursday, made presentations about their products and services at the Ethiopian Aviation Academy.

Miretab Teklay, director of Ethiopian digital, told The Reporter that with the support of Microsoft, Ethiopian Airlines will launch an IT training center at the Ethiopian Aviation Academy. He said that the program, which will transform into a department at the Academy, will recruit fresh university graduates and train them as IT airline solution developers.

Airlines spend millions of dollars to procure IT solutions every year. The management of Ethiopian now wants to build in-house capacity to develop travel software’s and other IT airline solutions that would enable the airline cut costs.

Ethiopian has 100 IT professionals and recently they have developed a mobile app that enables customers to transact with the airline. The airlines passengers now can book their flight, pay and board using the new mobile app.

Mireteab said that passengers are now getting used to the new mobile app. According to him, four percent of the ticket sales is done through the new app. Ethiopian total online sales has reached 15 percent and the airline now plans to boost its sales to 30 percent.

Furthermore, he added that the planned IT training department would first train professionals for Ethiopian but later it would start training professionals that would come from other African airlines.

Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika, who was an employee of Ethiopian Airlines many years ago, reckoned the time when the airline was transforming from the use of type writers to computers. Amrote said that, since the adoption of computers back in the days, Ethiopian has exponentially done very well in-terms of developing its IT infrastructure. “Ethiopian has done exemplary job,” she said.

Ethiopian Airlines Group, Tewolde Gebremariam (CEO) said tha IT development was one of the four pillars of the Vision 2025, the airlines 15-year growth strategy. “We are witnessing a dynamic change in the ICT world in our age. Young professionals are lucky enough to be part of this fast-changing world,” he told young trainees of the Ethiopian Aviation Academy.

Aviation experts claim that digital skills are the key driving force in enhancing the competitiveness of an airline in today’s challenging airline industry.

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