With COVID-19 affecting businesses, especially in the aviation industry, this is actually the best opportunity for Ghana to secure an aviation industry that is solidly backed by a vibrant national airline, Radia Adama Saani, Chief Executive Officer of Moontouch Travel Limited, has said.
“As the aviation industry struggles through COVID-19, Ghanaians are likely going to struggle the more as travelling is going to get more stressful due to the lack of a national carrier to serve Ghanaians on direct routes to several destinations.
“Having a national airline, as many countries do, will therefore boost our economy so well that it may likely become a major source of revenue generation in few years to come – if we manage it adequately with all our heart and passion,” she told the B&FT in an exclusive interview.
Ms. Saani noted that, fortunately, the aviation experts and human capital required already exists and is available in abundance, as many Ghanaians who previously worked under several other airlines since the collapse of Ghana Airways two decades ago are in the system and therefore have gained rich experience and knowledge in the industry to support the management and growth of a national airline.
“A national airline would massively create many direct and indirect job opportunities for the citizenship, which will reduce the high unemployment rate in the country,” she said, adding that with Ghana having a national carrier, the local tourism industry’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would increase.
“Most people would prefer transiting through Accra or have a few days’ stop in Accra just to have a feel of being in the land of gold, the country that is situated directly at the centre of the world. As a matter of fact, many people across the globe are still waiting for a chance to experience ‘The Year of Return’ after all the positive feed-back carried by their folks about Ghana,” she added.
Touching on the announcement by government of its intention to procure some airlplanes as part of moves to establish a national carrier, Ms. Saani was very optimistic but urged government to partner private investors due to the capital-intensive nature of the business.
Globally, the aviation industry supports 65.5 million jobs around the world, including 10.5 million people employed at airports and by airlines, as well as contributing US$2.7trillion in global economic activity.
But with COVID-19, the 100-year old industry is on its knees; and according to Airports Council International (ACI), it could take up to three years for business to get back to normal.
Despite these challenges, she still holds firm her view that now the is best time for Ghana to resurrect its national carrier.