Bombardier is boosting its aftermarket support network in Africa, tapping customer Ethiopian Airlines as an authorized Q400 maintenance provider and adding both parts distribution and customer support out of Johannesburg.

The Ethiopian agreement will cover both Q400 line and heavy maintenance and is expected to be in place by September, Bombardier says.

Ethiopian operates 13 Q400s—counting affiliate ASKY Airlines—including the first configured with dual-class cabins, and performs full base maintenance for the type at its Addis Ababa MRO facility. The carrier’s Q400 operations have earned three straight Bombardier Airline Reliability Performance annual awards, signifying 99% or better dispatch reliability in revenue service. The carrier says its 2012 performance put it first among all Q400 operators in Africa and the Middle East.

Bombardier’s Johannesburg facility will serve as its 15th “regional service office” and 11th parts facility, the OEM says. Both operations will be co-located with an existing Bombardier business jet service facility at Lanseria International Airport.

The parts depot will be run via an agreement with ExecuJet South Africa and will support both commercial and business aviation operators.

Bombardier has about 250 commercial and business aircraft operating in Africa.