Italy has officially returned its “first plane” to Ethiopia, which was stolen almost 90 years ago by Mussolini’s fascist troops. This news was announced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who said: “Today is a day of great pride for Ethiopians as we celebrate the official return of ‘Tsehay’ by the Italian government.” ‘Tsehay’ means ‘sun’ in Tigrinya, like the third daughter of then Emperor Haile Selassie, and is the first aircraft built in Ethiopia.
The aircraft was built in 1935
The post attaches photos of the shiny red two-seater, built under the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. The plane was returned to Ethiopia during Abiy’s visit to Rome for the Italy-Africa summit. “I express my immense gratitude to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni for her support for a year, which has facilitated this restitution,” added the Ethiopian Prime Minister. “Tsehay is the first plane built in Ethiopia in 1935 thanks to the collaboration of the emperor’s engineer and pilot, Ludwig Weber, and the Ethiopians of the time”, he specified.
It was kept at the Italian Air Force Museum
The Italian Ministry of Defense stated that the monoplane, originally silver-grey in colour, had made its first flight in December 1935, describing it as a “unique example”. He logged about thirty hours of flight time “before being abandoned in Addis Ababa in May 1936. The Italians then requisitioned him,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry specified that the plane had been preserved at the Italian Air Force Museum since 1941. ‘Tsehay’ flew for the first time in December 1935, when Weber took it about fifty kilometers from the capital Addis Ababa in about seven minutes.