Italy’s flag carrier makes historic maiden flight as GACL MD urges Kumasi and Tamale Airport Exploration


By Mohammed AWAL ([email protected])

In a landmark event for Ghana’s aviation industry, ITA Airways, Italy’s flag carrier, has officially launched its maiden direct flight from Rome to Accra, becoming the 24th international airline to operate at Kotoka International Airport.

The inaugural ITA Airways flight was celebrated with a special event attended by notable dignitaries and industry stakeholders including the Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) Mrs. Yvonne Nana Afriyie Opare, Managing Director, the Vice President of International Sales for ITA Airways, Pierfrancesco Carino; the Ambassador of Italy to Ghana and Togo Daniela D’Orlandi; and the Ambassador of Ghana to Italy, Merene Benyah.

The Italian flag carrier’s maiden flight landed in Ghana at 19:30 GMT on Thursday.

Speaking at the event Mrs. Nana Afriyie Opare said the commencement of flight operations on the Accra-Rome-Accra route is a clear indication of the confidence in Ghana’s aviation industry and significantly enhances “our efforts in positioning Ghana as the preferred aviation hub and leader in airport business in West Africa.”

“The introduction of this direct flight route signifies a new era of convenience and efficiency for travelers, both for business and leisure purposes, offering passengers more options and seamless connectivity between these two vibrant cities,” she stated.

MD Advocates for Kumasi and Tamale Airports

Mrs. Nana Afriyie Opare made a strong appeal to international flight operators to explore the potential of the Kumasi (Prempeh I) and Tamale International Airports as well underscoring GACL’s commitment to expanding and diversifying Ghana’s aviation network.

“These two markets, noted for their rich culture and traditions, possess immense untapped potential. I want to use this opportunity to invite all interested airlines to explore the opportunities in these markets and tap into all their possibilities,” she appealed.

With the new direct flight route, passengers can now enjoy increased convenience and efficiency, facilitating both business and leisure travel between the vibrant cities of Accra and Rome. ITA Airways will operate four times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from Italy to Accra.

GCAA’s committed to Aviation Safety and Security

Reverend Stephen Arthur, representing the Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), reiterated the Authority’s dedication to maintaining safety and security in Ghana’s airspace.

“In ensuring the safety and security of our airspace, we are also making Ghana a preferred destination choice for airlines in the sub-region and beyond. As we all know, safety and security in the aviation industry are key drivers for passenger growth. Therefore, the GCAA will not relent in keeping all industry players on their toes to ensure that Ghana remains a safe haven for all airlines, both domestic and international,” he stated.

To achieve this, he said the GCAA would continue to invest heavily in air navigation systems, human resources, capacity building, and other aviation-related fields.

The new flight

ITA Airways’ Pierfrancesco Carino expressed the airline’s excitement about the new route and their commitment to providing high-quality service with their new Airbus A321neo, a new-generation, technologically advanced aircraft.

The A321neo is the largest aircraft in the Airbus A320neo family and offers exceptional range and performance. Efficient and quiet, the new A321neo boasts 20% lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per seat. It is the first narrow-body aircraft configured with three separate cabins: Business Class (12 seats), Premium Economy (12 seats), and Economy (141 seats, including 12 dedicated to Comfort Economy). The cabin interiors, entirely designed by Walter de Silva, perfectly embody the elegance and style typical of Italy.

Distinctive features of the A321neo include the Airspace Cabin with new colors and materials, the latest generation of seats, new ITA Airways customized interior lighting and XL overhead bins. Each seat is equipped with the latest entertainment system, featuring “on-demand” video and audio, 17.3” (Business), 15.6” (Premium Economy) and 13.3” (Economy) low reflectivity and 4K resolution touchscreens for a simple, smooth and intuitive user experience.

The new flights will operate four times a week, offering passengers enhanced connectivity not only to Italy but across ITA Airways’ extensive network of 57 destinations worldwide.

“ITA Airways is proud to open this flight to Rome, Accra for the first time here in West Africa. It’s not just the destination from Rome to Accra, but it’s a really a hub and an important hub. So the important concept of ITA Airways is really the connectivity,” Mr. Carino said.

The Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Daniela D’Orlandi, and the Ghanaian Ambassador to Italy, Merene Benyah., both highlighted the positive impact of this new service on the bilateral relations between the two countries. They noted that the direct flights would facilitate greater economic cooperation and cultural exchange.

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