Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has announced the delivery of a Bell 505 helicopter to W.A. Oil Factory and Distribution PLC in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, its first corporate customer in the country. 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 an exceptional aircraft for corporate transportation, exceeding customers’ expectations with a large, customizable cabin and fully integrated high-tech features,” said Lynette Loosen, regional sales manager, Africa and the Middle East, Bell.
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.
“We are proud to accept the delivery of the first Bell 505 in Ethiopia,” said Aytenew. “Given the rugged terrain and limited road infrastructure in parts of the country, the Bell 505 will save us hours and sometimes days of travel time.”
The Bell 505 was delivered to Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, which has an elevation of 7,625 feet above MSL. “We’ve been operating the aircraft at 8,100 feet with no problem at all,” said Capt. Gilbert Gitonga, pilot, W.A. Oil. “The 505 has plenty of power and is operating extremely well.”
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 delivery, the Bell fleet in Africa continues to grow, building on its reputation for safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness,” said Jim Evans, CEO, Africair. “In particular, over recent years the Bell 505 has grown in popularity, with operators on the continent appreciating the flexibility and versatility of this light helicopter. We are looking forward to building this new relationship with W.A. Oil.”
With a speed of 125 knots (232 kilometers per hour) and a useful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms), the Bell 505 is designed to be safe and easy to fly while providing unmatched value to the operator.