A new local airline, Africa World Airlines (AWA), was launched in Accra last Friday to commence operations.
It was incorporated on November 15, 2010 and received its Air Carrier Licence (ACL) from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on March 4, 2011.
Togbe Afede is the principal founder, with SAS Finance Group, state-owned Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), HNA Aviation (China) and the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) as the shareholders.
AWA is expected to provide services including schedule, charter and cargo flights as well as advertising.
According to Togbe Afede, AWA would commence business with Embraer ERJ-145LR jets to cover Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale with Accra as the nerve centre.
"The route network is structured to create a hub-and -spoke model centred upon Accra. This will allow seamless one-change connections between multiple city pairs," he explained at a news conference after the formal launch of AWA.
At the launch, he said, the arrival of AWA on the aviation scene was very significant because it underscored the growing importance of Ghana as an aviation hub in the sub-region.
"The numbers are there to justify this. The growth in numbers of arrivals at the Kotoka International Airport has been very significant."
"Not only have we enjoyed relative stability in the various economic statistics, we have also showed tremendous GDP growth over the past years."
"Our determination is that as and when the market justifies the conditions we would augment our fleet."
Togbe Afede said it was the airline's desire to integrate the sub-regions by linking all the cities to make Accra, the hub of aviation in the sub-region.
"We want to make air travel and option for the majority of the people many of whom do not consider air travel in their plans because of the advantage that air travel presents."
He said they were aware of the existence of four domestic airlines, adding, "We think we can be able to compete because AWA believes that its strength will rely on safety, reliability, efficiency and value for money."
Gong Jianzhong, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, underscored the need for the deepening of Chine-Ghana relations and added that China would continue to support Ghana.
"My government is ready to continue its developmental assistance to Ghana and I would urge Chinese businesses to come in to assist in the transformation of the Ghanaian economy."
Chi Jianxin, Chief Executive Officer of China Africa Development Fund (CADFund) Ghana, said he was hopeful the involvement of the fund in the venture would "stimulate Ghana's economic growth."
Chen Wenli, Director of HNA Group, said the group would offer continuous technical assistance to AWA to make it the preferred airline in the sub-region.
Akua Sena Dansoa, Minister of Tourism, said the government was committed to providing the needed support for the private sector to flourish.
There are 63 airlines operating in Ghana two of which (Antrak Air and CiTylink) offer domestic flights.
With Agency Report