Gov’t to adopt innovative means to create new airline

Government will use an innovative, sustainable ownership and management arrangement in the creation of a new flag-carrier, Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda has assured.

Speaking at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regional Aviation Forum opening, organised in partnership with Ghana’s Ministry of Aviation in Accra, he said his outfit will ensure it gets the best for the country and that no mistakes of the past are repeated.

He said establishing the home-based carrier will help consolidate and stimulate growth in the country’s aviation sector, so as to achieve the vision of making Ghana an aviation hub on the continent.

Mr. Adda’s comments follow finalisation of the strategic partnership agreement between the GoG and Ethiopian Airlines for the establishment of a new flag-carrier, as confirmed by B&FT sources.

Based on the agreement signed, Ghana’s new national airline will operate domestic flights to build its brand and become a house-hold name, just as the defunct Ghana Airways did in the past, before exiting to focus on regional and intercontinental flights.

Under the strategic agreement between GoG and ET signed last month, ET will hold a 49 percent stake in the new entity while the government of Ghana (GoG) holds remaining shares and invests initially in the new enterprise – before offloading the shares to local investors who have expressed interest but are waiting for the airline to start operations before coming on-board.

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The progress made follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the GoG and Ethiopian in December 2018 to signify GoG’s undertaking to work with ET on the home-based carrier project.

Various sources say Ethiopian is ready to deploy several Dash 8-400s to Accra later in 2019 in readiness for flight operations.

B&FT sources have indicated that the Ministry of Aviation and Ethiopian are working on the fine details of funding, cost-sharing, brand-name and other details pertinent to a successful take for the airline.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Adda said government has taken giant strides – such as creating a dedicated Ministry of Aviation to ensure that no one is left out in terms of the benefits that society stands to gain from the air transport; the Aviation industry worldwide records 120,000 flights, carrying 12 million passengers and US$18.8billion worth of cargo on a daily basis.

Mr. Adda, also said a number of projects including the ultra-modern Terminal 3 project at the Kotoka International Airport, and modernisation and scaling-up of the Kumasi and Tamale Airports have been embarked upon.

“Modern Surveillance Equipment has also been installed to ensure safety and security in the Accra Flight Information Region (FIR),” he said.

The minister said Ghana is fully committed to implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), and aviation will have a prominent effect on successful implementation of the CFTA.

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Mr. Muhammad Al-bakri, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, said it is exciting to note that Ghana has included aviation as part of its National Development Plans.

He encouraged a strong dialogue and partnership between all stakeholders, “if we are to deliver the economic and social benefits to our citizens”.

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