Lockheed Negotiating To Sell Planes To Ethiopia
ATLANTA (AP) _ The Lockheed Corp. is negotiating the sale of L-100 transport planes to Ethiopia, and the Red Cross is worried that the hunger-plagued nation could use the planes for military purposes.
Joseph E. Dabney, a Lockheed spokesman in nearby Marietta, where the plane is manufactured, confirmed the company’s negotiations with government-owned Ethiopian Airlines.
″We understand that they plan to open up an African cargo operation to airlift perishables such as fruits and vegetables from Africa to Europe, then haul consumer goods from Europe back to Africa,″ he was quoted as saying in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution.
Dabney said Ethiopia is trying to buy at least two L-100s - the civilian version of the C-130, a four-engine plane widely used by the U.S. Air Force.
Two weeks ago, U.S. officials said L-100s would not be sold to Angola because that country’s Marxist government has used the plane for military purposes.
Some worry that Ethiopia’s Marxist government might do the same thing. Ethiopia has been criticized for blocking relief efforts in rebellious areas.
″Any of these planes are very versatile and could certainly be used to transport troops or artillery or other supplies,″ said Jean-Jacques Surbeck, information officer of the International Committee of the Red Cross in New York. The Red Cross was expelled from Ethiopia in May.
The newspaper said Ethiopian officials in Washington and New York would not confirm the negotiations with Lockheed.