We are open to offers for new airline—Aviation Minister

The submission of proposals to partner government in the establishment of a new home-based carrier is open to all and will be transparent to ensure the country has a robust business model for the new flag-carrier, Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda has said.

“Ghana wants to establish a new flag-carrier with private sector participation. This will be open to all airlines and aircraft-leasing companies interested in partnering government,” Mr. Adda said at a meeting with airline operators in Accra.

Ethiopian, Turkish, Air Mauritius and Africa World Airlines are some of the major players who have expressed interest in partnering government in this endeavour.

Ethiopian has gone a step further to submit its business plan to the Aviation Ministry and is keenly following the process. Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopia’s Chief Executive Officer, told the B&FT on the sidelines of the Routes Africa Conference held in Accra in June: “Yes, we have submitted our proposal and held discussions”.

Turkish Ambassador to Ghana, Nesrin Bayazit, and Turkish Airline management in Istanbul have both confirmed the Turkish-based airline’s interest – having wider connections across the globe than any other airline.

“We are hearing a lot about the national airline in Ghana and that some companies have already been mentioned, and we hope Turkish airlines can be one of those companies. Recently, a national airline has been established with the assistance of Turkish airlines, so maybe we can talk about how we can do the same in Ghana,” Ambassador Nesrin Bayazit said during a courtesy call on the Aviation Minister last month.

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Air Mauritius officials also held a meeting with the former Aviation Minister who now serves as the Sanitation and Water Resources Minister, Ms. Cecilia Dapaah, and expressed their interest in partnering government.

The quest for a new home-based carrier

The desire to establish a new home-based carrier after the collapse of Ghana Airways—a fully state-owned entity—and the subsequent collapse of Ghana International Airlines, established with private sector participation after the collapse of Ghana Airways, stems from growth in the sector experienced on the continent and the industry’s future potential.

According to the Africa Outlook report for 2018, Aviation in Africa currently supports US$72.5billion in economic activity and 6.8 million jobs, but Africa’s proportion of the global tourism industry is receding – as the continent’s share shrunk from 4.8% of global arrivals and receipts in 2006 to 3.3% in 2016.

Africa’s potential however remains huge, given the increased investment in on-ground infrastructure and substantial growth of the middle-class on the continent.

IATA predicts air-travel growth in Africa will outpace all other regions of the world over the next 20 years, albeit from a much smaller base. Positively, IATA expects 8.0% growth in demand; slightly outpacing capacity expansion of 7.5%.

Additionally, huge investments in on-ground infrastructure, such as expansion of the Arrival Hall of Terminal 2 and construction of Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), construction of a new terminal building at the Kumasi Airport, expansion of the Tamale Airport, reconstruction of the Wa airport and construction of a new airport in the Volta regional capital Ho, all require that a home-based carrier which will focus on operating domestic and regional routes is established.

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Indeed, Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO, GebreMariam, confirmed that when given the nod ET will combine domestic and regional operations.

Meeting with Airlines

The meeting, at the behest of the sector minister who took over from Ms. Cecilia A. Dapaah barely two months ago, was to afford him the opportunity to formally introduce himself to operators and commit to working together with industry players.

He said various issues that were raised at the 2nd Annual AviationGhana Breakfast Meeting held in February included: Resolution of concerns raised by airlines in respect of GACL’s insurance requirement before airport passes are issued; and submission of a Memo by the Aviation Ministry to the Ministry of Finance proposing the removal of taxes on aircraft spare-parts among others, are high on his agenda.

Mr. Adda called on airlines, through the Board of Airline Representatives (BARGH), to furnish his office with the requisite data to inform policy decisions.

The Annual AviationGhana Breakfast Meeting, organised by AviationGhana, an aviation-oriented PR company and online news portal – in collaboration with the Board of Airlines and under the auspices of the Aviation Ministry, brings together stakeholders in the aviation sector under one roof to discuss issues of mutual interest.

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