Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda, has said one of the challenges facing the aviation sector is the high cost of flying in the sub region and government would be happy if the introduction of Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways, as the newest airline into the Ghanaian fold, would stir up competition which would lead to cheaper airfares in the near future.
Speaking at a short ceremony to welcome the maiden flight of Qatar Airways to Ghana, he said: “What is most important for us in the aviation sector is that we are looking at this as an indication of competition.
Many airlines have been flying in and out of Ghana for a long time and the standard ones that we know is British Airways, KLM and in recent times Emirates and then we have Qatar coming in, it is more or less an icing on the cake in a way. We have not been particularly happy about the high cost of flying in the sub region and the lack of connectivity.
With Qatar coming in, it shows the growth of the aviation sector and based on the vision of President Akufo-Addo, which is to make here a hub, Qatar will see Ghana as a very good place with the conducive environment to do business and therefore they should consider to create its West African regional hub here where they can come into Ghana and fly into any other part of West Africa or throughout Africa.”
The maiden flight of the airline was a Boeing 787-8 aeroplane with 60 passengers to Ghana and a 14-member crew which had seven members being Ghanaian. Both pilots of the flight, Khaldi Talal and Edwin Sunkwa Mills were Ghanaians who are former workers of the defunct Ghana Airways. The other Ghanaian crew members are Rejoice Dzifa Agamah, Tetteh Afoley, Ofeibea Nana Agyeman, Gloria Awurajoa Simpson and Bashiratu Ismaila.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yoofi Grant, said the coming of Qatar Airways into Ghana would open up the country’s investment opportunities to many people in the world.
“It is extremely joyous particularly at this time when Ghana is spearheading the advent and operationalization of the Continental Free Trade Area. I believe that more opportunities are going to come. There are interesting opportunities on both sides that I believe this would initiate. I believe that this airline would become one of leading airlines into the region and by the grace of God we shall give it our support.”
Foreign Affairs remarks
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charles Owiredu, added that the coming of Qatar Airways was an initiative commenced by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“In 2017, the President visited Qatar and the Emir of Qatar reciprocated that visit and the outcome of this was the signing of an MoU to deepen the people-to-people relationship between the two countries and to also foster bilateral relations between the two countries and I am happy to say that today is the fruition of the efforts that had been put in place. Ghana is open for business and we are ready to give Qatar Airways all the needed support they need to play a key role in Ghana’s aviation sector.”