The Ghanaian government has embarked upon the search for an elite airline operator as a strategic partner in the establishment of a new national carrier.
The Ministry of Transport released an expression of interest (EOI) calling for the partnership with highly skilled aviation specialists, stating that the feasibility studies [for the establishment of a new national carrier] also demonstrated the new national airline will require partnership with an experienced strategic airline partner that has a global distribution network to adequately take advantage of opportunities in the market place.
The requirements for the partnership, according to the EOI statement outline that such an entity is required to have solid financial standing, technical strength in areas of IT systems and flight operations, maintenance yield and capacity management, a good distribution network, and be a member of a global alliance.
These requirements effectively eliminate indigenous airlines that have expressed interest, as their current economic conditions were sub-standard of the requirements.
Africa World Airlines (AWA) and Starbow – the only remaining indigenous airlines that possess many of the requirements for the job – still fall short in the long run, as they lack crucial membership in global alliances like Star Alliance, SkyTeamand OneWorld.
Africa World Airlines operates flights from Accra to Kumasi, Accra-Tamale, Kumasi-Tamale, Tamale-Kumasi, and a regional flight to Lagos.
Despite its strategic partnership with South African Airways, which has made it possible for passengers in Nigeria to travel on AWA from Lagos and connect an SAA flight to the USA from Accra, AWA’s routes are not far-reaching enough according to the EOI.
International Operational Safety Audit Program-certified Starbow, which operates flights to all domestic destinations in the country, has the needed designation to fly to many destinations on the West Coast.
Expecting to take delivery of new aircraft, the airline is intends to re-commence regional flights soon — after its initial foray was curtailed by various challenges.
Some other major destinations earmarked by the airline include mega cities like Abuja and Port Harcourt in Nigeria, as well as economically inclining countries like Liberia, and Senegal.
Despite intense competition in long-haul routes, political barriers to growing intra-Africa traffic, high costs and infrastructure deficiencies throughout the continent, African economists and aviation experts still predict growth for existing and new airlines that operate intra-Africa and long-haul flights into Africa from Europe, Asia, and North America.