Emirate Airlines’ Senior Vice President for Commercial Operations in Africa, Orhan Abbas, has said the Dubai based national carrier is not interested in partnering Ghana or any other country in national airline operations.
Mr. Abbas, who spoke to the B&FT at the national headquarters of Emirates Airline in Dubai, stated that although Ghana was a great country, Emirates had no intention of partnering the government to set-up a new national airline.
He argued that Emirates, which is one of the biggest airlines in the world, today, flying to some 26 destinations in Africa with 165 flights per week, is focused on growing with its business plan which excludes alliances or partnerships.
“We, as an airline, look at our organic growth. We are happier in Dubai and as you can see we are not in any alliances. So, as I said, we concentrate on our business model, on our plan that we have put forward and we do not venture out to go into any partnerships or alliances or even mergers or acquisitions.
Ghana is one of our strongest destinations, as we have seen a tremendous growth over the years. But I am saying that we as Emirates look at our own growth and if you look at our history we have not done that before,” he said.
Since the desire was expressed by the government of Ghana to establish a new airline after failure to maintain the defunct Ghana Airways and Ghana International Airlines, there have been media reports suggesting Ghana was in talks with Emirates for a possible collaboration.
Ghana to establish National Airline
Following the collapse of Ghana’s former national carrier, Ghana Airways in 2005, over high indebtedness, successive governments have tried to establish a new national airline but have all been unsuccessful.
Government is now inviting bids from private investors in the aviation sector to help it establish a national carrier under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative.
The new government has said it envisages Ghana becoming an aviation hub within the West and sub-Saharan region in Africa. To drive the hub vision of Ghana, government has given ‘policy approval’ for the establishment of a national airline.
This has received expert endorsement, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcoming the decision.
“You cannot create a hub in Ghana without a home-based carrier. We need a strong home-based carrier and I am happy the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said recently.
Emirates’ new First-Class cabin
Meanwhile, Mr. Orhan Abbas also confirmed that Emirates’ New First-Class cabin will be showcased at the Dubai Air Show this November and formally launched.
Making its debut onboard a Boeing 777-300ER, Emirates’ new First-Class cabin will feature 6 private suites laid out in a 1-1-1 layout, compared to the existing 8 private suites in a 1-2-1 layout on its existing 777 fleet.
In addition to the entirely redesigned First-Class product, Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ER will also boast of a range of other new features in the Business and Economy Class cabins.
Orhan Abbas stated that: “Our products and services across cabin classes are continually improved and enhanced. But what our customers will see on Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ER starting from November, will be a much bigger revamp that takes our onboard experience to the next level. All cabins will sport a totally fresh new look. We are excited to showcase the results of years of planning and development invested into our new first class offering, and our overall Emirates 777 experience.”
Currently, Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777, flying 162 of these modern, efficient wide-body aircraft to six continents from its hub in Dubai.
The airline pioneered the private suite concept on commercial flights in 2003, establishing a new standard for First Class travel.
All Emirates’ destinations in Africa are served with Boeing 777 aircraft, except Morocco and Mauritius, which have A380s. One of the four services to Johannesburg is also an A380 service.