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Africa: Seeking 5th Freedom Rights, Ethiopian Airlines eyes direct flights from Ghana to Canada

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If given the 5th Freedom Right by Ghanaian authorities, Africa’s largest aviation group Ethiopian Airlines says it is set to operate direct flights from Ghana’s capital city of Accra to Canadian cities of Toronto and Montreal.

According to Ghana Web, Fifth Freedom Rights refers to the right to carry passengers from one’s own country to a second country, and from that country onward to a third country.

In Ghana, some international airlines based in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East exercise such freedoms, as granted by the aviation sector regulator–Ghana Civil Aviation Authority– and can operate flights to a third country within the sub-region after landing in Accra.

READ: Aviation: Ethiopian Airlines to Resume Direct Flights to Bangui, Central African Republic

“Yes, we are interested in a 5th Freedom Right [from Ghana to Canada],” Ethiopian Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Lemma Yadecha Gudeta, confirmed to AviationGhana. Canada is the top destination for Ghanaian travellers, AviationGhana’s analysis of visa applications via VFS for 2022 has shown. According to the visa intermediary, Canadian visa applications in other West African countries have also remained elevated. However, there is no direct flight between the West Africa and Canada.

Interacting with the media during a working visit to Ghana’s capital Accra, on September 28, 2023, Mr. Lemma Yadecha Gudeta, said Ethiopian Airlines stands ready to operate direct flights from Accra, Ghana to Canadian cities if the requisite approvals are given by Ghanaian Authorities. “We fly to Canada’s capital Toronto five times a week. Now the demand from the eastern part of Africa and its surroundings is very high and we are not able to satisfy that demand. I was in Montreal in February to negotiate with stakeholders over there to get number one: more flights to Toronto at least, a daily flight to Toronto, and the four flights to Montreal.

READ: Africa: Ethiopian Airlines refutes media reports its aircraft landed amidst Typhoon at Bangkok Airport, Hong Kong

If you are going to have more frequency, what I suggested to the authorities over there was also to operate via West Africa. The only thing that I didn’t mention was which country in West Africa. That is not in our hands because we have to talk to authorities, and we have to get authorization, but we are very keen to operate to Canada via West Africa,” Mr. Gudeta said

He added that: “I met so many West African community leaders and ambassadors over there. Many of them are very keen to have a direct flight between Canada and West Africa. Therefore, permissions are the only things that we are waiting for, and we see positive engagements over there [Canada]. Hopefully, we are going to get more slots to fly to Canada. So, for sure, we will connect the Western part of Africa to Canada.”

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