Gov’t targets VIP aircraft hub as demand for VIP services grow
Ghana is seeking to create the right aviation environment to be a hub for private jets and VIP aircraft seeking an ideal location in the sub-region from which to easily reach other parts of the world, refuel or stock up food supplies, Ms. Cecilia Dapaah, Minister for Aviation has said.
"For the VIP Aircrafts, we as a government, we want to encourage the private sector to go into some of these businesses. I believe that in Africa, we have a need for these VIP services.
We will introduce Ghanaian businesses who are in the aviation sector, who might team up with the backing of government to undertake this, to relevant aviation players. This is because the VIP services is very much needed in Africa," Ms. Dapaah said when the Brazilian Ambassador paid a courtesy call on her to discuss aviation-related issues of mutual interest.
The private jet market is growing globally with its corresponding increase in demand for VIP flying services.
While the USA and Europe hold about 77% of the global fleet. There are many emerging markets in need of private VIP services given the current growth aside, the two power houses.
Many economies in the West African sub-region, after years of slow growth, are now undertaking many infrastructural developments. These developments are often overseen by experts from sister ECOWAS member countries or other national outside the ECOWAS.
Local businesses are also expanding into other markets within the sub-region as they seek to tap into the 350million-populated ECOWAS region.
Nigeria's Dangote Group, a company with interest in cement, sugar, fertilizer, and oil and gas, now has presence in more than a dozen African countries.
Ghana's Kasapreko Group, an alcoholic, non-alcoholic and bottled water producer, also has presence in Nigeria. Indigenous company, Jospong Group, also has presence in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other countries in the sub-region.
The growth of these businesses depends on an efficient and reliable air transport often at very little or no notice. Private jet ownership or rental allows for managers to effectively oversee the growth and success of their businesses at their convenience.
Populous West Africa country, Nigeria, has a large stock of private jets. As at August 2015, there were 146 corporate jets, of which 46 were registered in Nigeria while 100 has foreign registration.
Strong Ghana-Brazil relations
Ms. Dapaah, said: "You are already in the airline industry and have a relationship with World Africa Airlines (AWA). So, I believe that you have a niche market that ordinarily the big guys would not go there. It is very good; this sort of relationship is very important. One of the shortest routes to Brazil is in Africa, specifically from Ghana, but there is no connectivity. We need to therefore explore all these routes for commercial, investment, tourism and for security purposes so that we can all connect."
She added that: "There is a town in Ghana, Tabon, where the ancestors of the people came from Brazil, specifically from El-Salvador. So there is that relationship between us. Ghana is strategically placed in playing the role of hub and it will be good to have partners like you, just like you have with AWA.
We want to grow Ghanaian businessmen, and grow Ghanaian businesses with strategic partners like you. It is our philosophy that it is not government's business to do businesses, it is always the private sector that thrives. Ghana poised and ready for some of these services, to supply services to Africa and I believe it is a very good area we can work on."
Brazil, Embraer seek closer collaboration
The Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, Laudemar Aguiar, who was accompanied by Eduardo Nunes, Embraer Defense & Security's Commercial Director, Europe and Africa, said the good diplomatic relations and existing bilateral trade between the two countries can be further strengthened in the aviation sector as Ghana seeks to establish a new national airline.
He said Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer, is ready to offer Ghana planes on terms acceptable to both parties, if given the opportunity, to enable the country establish a new airline.
He added that Ghana should leverage aviation to grow the tourism industry. "One thing that I am sure is that you and your other ministers are working on is domestic tourism. We can see five-star hostels around. So, once you have this tourism infrastructure and you allow people in Ghana to travel around, I mean with those medium-sized or small airplanes, that would be great for them," he said.