Indigenous Ghanaian domestic and regional operator Africa World Airlines (AWA) says it is committed to partnering government and its choice of strategic partner to operate the new home-based carrier.
Sean Mendis, AWA Chief Operating Officer (COO), told B&FT: “We have been continuously engaged in discussions with the Ministry of Aviation to partner with them on this project, and we reiterate our continued willingness to do so.
“We believe that private sector carriers like AWA have helped drive the growth in Ghanaian aviation over the last decade, and we sincerely hope that a venture to be majority-owned by the government of Ghana will continue to help drive innovation and competition in the marketplace.”
AWA’s commitment follows 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.
Tewolde GebreMariam confirmed this to the B&FT before the final agreement’s signing: “[If we are chosen] we will operate domestic flights in addition to regional flights”.
Mr. Mendis explains that given AWA is the largest domestic operator, it should be given the opportunity to partake in this new enterprise.
AWA currently operates daily flights between Accra and three domestic destinations—Takoradi, Kumasi and Tamale—as well as regional flights between Accra and Lagos, Accra-Abuja, and Accra-Monrovia-Freetown-Accra. The airline is also expected to announce its Accra-Abidjan service later this year.
Under the strategic agreement between GoG and ET signed last week, ET will hold a 49 percent stake in the new entity while the government of Ghana (GoG) holds the remaining shares; and invest 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.
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.