Africa World Airlines, Ghana’s fastest growing regional carrier, has received the International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) Programme certificate from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) after an intensive and rigorous process.
The airline’s certificate is valid from May 1, 2015 to May 1, 2017 and it has subsequently been listed on the IOSA register.
According to IATA’s Vice President for Africa, Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, the IOSA programme is a safety and security audit programme run by the international body for airlines globally, which also enhances their safety and operational effectiveness.
He stated that with the issuance of the certificate to AWA, the airline has become one of the safest airlines in the world.
“It’s a safety and security audit programme run by IATA globally. It is not mandatory, its voluntary. But for the airlines that adopt it, it enhances their safety and operational effectiveness. It is a compilation of industry best practices and safety, and so we encourage all airlines to get it. Airlines that are IOSA-registered have the highest level of safety compared to the ones that are not IOSA.
“What this means for AWA is that today it is recognised as one of the over-400 airlines with the highest safety hallmark or credentials. Many airlines that are IOSA-registered around the world will be seeking to do business with airlines who are also IOSA-registered. AWA now has to take advantage of this and get out there to try and work with other partner airlines that are IOSA-certified and try and grow their networks,” Mr. Kuuchi said.
Chief Operations Officer of AWA, Samuel Thompson said the issuance of the IOSA certificate to the airline puts it on the map for good business opportunities.
“With the IOSA certification, customers can have comfort knowing that an IOSA-registered airline actually complies with the stringent standards and practices governing aviation safety. “The IOSA-registered member also opens doors for alliances and partnerships with other IOSA registered Airlines. It also puts AWA on the map for good business opportunities,” Samuel Thompson, Chief Operations Officer of AWA said.
Meanwhile, the airline has promised to garner more of the market share in the country’s aviation sector.
The airline invested in by a Chinese company has already captured half of the aviation market in Ghana and has become one of the most popular regional airlines in West Africa.
Despite its high levels of fragmentation, Africa’s Aviation market has significant opportunities for growth, and that’s attracted some Chinese investors. Ghana’s Africa World Airlines, registered in 2010, is one such opportunity. It is a joint venture by Chinese and Ghanaian investors, and the carrier has grown to serve a larger and larger section of the potential market in Ghana.
AWA started operations in 2012 using Embraer 145 Jets. The airline is co-financed by China’s HNA Group, the China-Africa Development Fund, Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust, and Ghana’s SAS Finance Group. Starting from 1 flight at the very beginning, their travel routes have increased over 3 years of expansion to 22 domestic and international flights per day. Over 98 percent of its 216 staff are Ghanaian.
In addition to its strong financial support, AWA also inherited the strict safety management and service standards of Hainan Airlines. Their strong safety management and good service records helped the airline win the award for Domestic Airline for 2014 from the Ghana Tourism Authority.
A growing number of African countries including Ghana, Kenya and South Africa hope to expand aviation cooperation with China in projects such as co-funded airlines, airport construction or aircraft manufacturing.