Dre Aviation, the lead sponsor for Dana Air’s expansion plans in the West Coast, is 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 will be the first regional carrier to operate the route, barring any last-minute hitches, 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.
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 a 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, which currently operates daily flights between Accra and Lagos, is to start a second daily service from Accra to Lagos on February 1, 2016.
A new twice-daily service is also being planned for March from Accra to Abuja, thus intensifying competition in the sector.
Dana Air was voted Nigeria’s number-one airline in 2015 and has won many accolades, including being one of Nigeria’s best employers.
“By adding new routes from Accra, Dana and Dre Aviation plan to become one of the country’s biggest aviation operators, thus forwarding the Ghana Airport Company’s ambitions of establishing itself as West Africa’s major hub,” Dre Aviation said in a statement.
Notwithstanding the laudable initiative of commencing direct flights between Kumasi and Lagos, there are teething issues that ought to be sorted out by regulators to facilitate realisation of the route’s first flight.
The Instrument Landing System (ILS) and VOR is presently awaiting inspection and certification by a specially designated ASECNA aircraft. This, when completed, will aid in flight operations at the airport.
Aviation regulators are also working on manuals for eventual certification of the Kumasi airport by 2017, in conformity with International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) requirements.