Dre Aviation, the lead sponsor for Dana Air’s expansion plans in the West Coast, is reviewing its plans to operate direct flights between the Ashanti Regional capital Kumasi and Lagos, Nigeria, following an intense and prolonged harmattan season.
A statement by the company said: “Kumasi expansion plans for the Dre Aviation business is under review. The extreme harmattan conditions witnessed this year is a potential business risk to the highly commercially sensitive business model.
“We are monitoring unprecedented harmattan conditions this year, and this is having major knock-on effects for flights from the north of the country. Such a period of extreme harmattan will have a significant impact even on the most robust of aviation business models. Aircraft are not flying, but aircraft lease and staff costs still need to be paid — which makes the proposition less viable.
“The Kumasi project is very much a priority for us, but we are monitoring the situation closely,” the statement noted. Dre Aviation in January said it was in advanced talks with the Ghana Airports Company and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to start direct flights between Kumasi and Lagos by May.
The airline is planning on being the first regional carrier to operate the route, and is expected to stimulate regional airline interest in the Ashanti regional capital following huge investments in the existing airport infrastructure last year.
“We are determined to develop air travel links between these 2 important commercial hubs in West Africa; it’s our duty. We will bring safe, reliable and affordable travel to this sector and both countries will benefit economically from this direct link for business and personal travellers alike,” Ato Koomson, Country Manager, Dre Aviation told the B&FT in January.
Government, sole shareholder of the GACL last year invested more than US$30million in on-ground infrastructure at the Kumasi Airport.
The scope of work for rehabilitating the existing airfield pavement cost some US$23million and consists of patch-repair works, correcting undulating surfaces, providing and placing the Asphalt Reinforcement Grid (ARG); regulating course provision, and placing 70mm thick Marshall Asphalt on top of the ARG.
Consultancy services for construction supervision for rehabilitating existing airfield pavement works also cost US$409,000 — with US$4million spent on Aeronautical Ground Lighting systems at the airport. Other works comprise pavement marking and earthworks to the runway strip, to ensure compliance with ICAO and GCAA requirements.
For the Aeronautical Ground Lighting Systems, some other work to be done are designing the AGL System, supply and installation of the AGL System, and training.
Nigerian-based carrier Dana Air currently operates daily morning and evening flights between Accra and Lagos. Dana Air was voted Nigeria’s number-one airline in 2015 and has won many accolades, including being one of Nigeria’s best employers.