AWA plans West Coast expansion as it takes delivery of 5th aircraft
…To add 12 more aircraft in fourth quarter of 2017
By Friday Nwosu
Ghanaian leading carrier Africa World Airlines has said it is now prepared more than ever to expand its route network along the West Coast, just as the airline took delivery of its 5th aircraft.
The airline which started operations about four years ago has become a dominant force along the Accra-Lagos route and has consistently demonstrated its wit on the route, competing favourably with Nigerian carriers like Arik Air, Medview, Aero, and Dana Air. It grew from 3 flights a week on the Lagos Accra route to 4 times daily all in the past 12 months.
Speaking at the ceremony marking the airline’s new addition to its fleet which was christened Juliet, President and founder AWA Togbe Afede, said the airline which has the largest frequency on the Accra-Lagos route will be adding two more wide-bodied aircraft by the middle of the year.
He stated that one of the wide-bodied aircraft will be deployed on the Accra-Abuja route which the airline intends to commence by the 2nd of May 2017 adding that the other wide-bodied aircraft will be deployed along the West Coast to broaden the airlines reach.
The stated that AWA will be taking delivery of additional 10 Embraer aircraft by the end of the year 2017 to consolidate on its operation on the Accra-Lagos routes and also expand its reach to other African countries.
The AWA Chairman noted the Nigerian market has been instrumental to its growth and operations on the route pointed out that any airline that wants to succeed on the route must take into cognizance the important role the market plays on the West Coast.
Afede noted the airline is not without its challenges, saying that has been difficult operating from the Kotoka International Airport adding that it is working in partnership the Ghana Airport Company Limited and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the airport gets world standard infrastructure.
His words: “We at Africa World Airline are committed to helping government make Accra a hub of aviation in West Africa. We are committed to supporting government in its programmes as far as our sector is concerned, to bring development to our people, to bring Prosperity and happiness to our people. We are not called Africa world Airline for nothing, the desire of the founders has been for an airline that would conquer Africa.
“That is still the commitment and we have received indications of support from our shareholders, from the Chinese government and of course we know that we will enjoy support from the Ghanaian government as well. The good news as I said, what we are doing today is just the first of several of what we shall be doing in the future.
We still have a commitment to bring two aircraft by the middle of this year, I am talking about two larger aircraft. We started with this 145s as a matter of strategy and that is why we survived.
“Now that we have mastered the terrain we are ready to bring in larger aircraft starting the middle of this year. But there is an even bigger good new subject to the results of the feasibility we are taking now, the commitment is to bring in another 10 aircraft. That would indeed launch us almost immediately into the ranks of the biggest airlines on the continent. And I can assure you that these would be the effective realization of the vision of the founders of AWA. Even if we have made progress so far I want to tell you we are not quite close to achieving the aspirations of the founders” he said.
He further disclosed that the airline is perfecting arrangements to establish a base in Nigeria in the near future to further strengthen its presence in Africa’s most populous country.
Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Baohong Sun, who spoke at the event said the Chinese government is glad to partner with the airline and is working to ensure that Ghana becomes a regional hub in West Africa.
She said her government will continue to support Africa World Airline to achieve its goal of become a regional player in the West Coast and also a major player in the aviation industry in Africa.