Africa World Airlines, which is fast becoming a force in Ghana’s aviation industry, have slated February 10, 2014 for the start of their third flight to Tamale from Accra.
The new late afternoon schedule to the Northern Regional capital would complement the daily 7:00am and 12:00 pm flights already on the route. Acting Heading of Commercial of the airlines, Ridwane Adamou, made this known to Myjoyonline.com last Friday.
Mr Adamou revealed that the new flight, which will depart from Accra at 3:00pm daily, is in response to the growing traffic on the route. The flight which will also depart from Tamale to Accra at 4:30pm, according to Mr Adamou, will offer convenience to business people who want to travel quickly to and from the Northern Region.
Ghana’s domestic air travel continues to improve. Figures from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the industry regulator, indicates that between January and July 2013, total passenger uplift grew by 67% over the same period in 2012 — 450,674 passengers from Jan-Jul 2013, as against 270,516 passengers from Jan-Jul 2012.
Expressing optimism about Ghana’s aviation industry, Mr Amadou however pointed out inherent challenges that are likely to stunt the growth of the sector. Top among the challenges, according to him, was capacity to handle passengers at the country’s airports.
“The traffic is growing last year (traffic) for domestic flight was over 500,000 passengers, and it is expected to grow further this year. So we need to expand infrastructure at our airports”, he said.
He said even though there has been the addition of another boarding gate at the Kotoka International Airport, it still gets congested at peak hours.
He also described the state of the tarmacs at the country’s airports as deplorable, and called on Government to act quickly to improve the situation. According to him, the poor state of the tarmacs translates into high cost of operation, which is then passed on to passengers.
“When the tarmac is not in very good shape, it damages the tires of the plane so you would have to replace them more often”, he explained. However, Mr Amadou said AWA’s outlook for 2014 is to continue to grow like last year despite the challenges in the sector.
He said AWA will consolidate the domestic routes before moving on forcefully to sub-regional and international routes.
Africa World Airlines started operations in September 2012 and aims to develop a network of domestic and regional routes from its home base in Accra to create an airline with international standards.
Shareholders include SAS Finance Group (Ghana), SSNIT (Ghana), HNA Aviation Holding in (China) and China-Africa Development Fund (China).