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Business News of Monday, 20 August 2018

Source: Citinewsroom.com

Three airline operators to help manage national carrier

Ghana is currently in talks with three airline operators as the country nears the establishment of a national carrier.

The companies will be responsible for injecting capital and help manage the new entity.

Air Mauritius, Ethiopian Airlines and Abu Dhabi Aviation, are currently being considered for the private sector participation. The collapse of the erstwhile Ghana International Airlines has warranted the revamping of the national carrier to rake in revenue and help achieve Ghana’s objective of becoming an aviation hub.

The outgoing Aviation Minister, Cecilia Dapaah, at a meet the press session in Accra said the new national carrier would also strengthen Ghana’s position in the aviation sector.

“Cabinet has given approval for the ministries to negotiate with Air Mauritius and Abu Dhabi, whilst continuing with Ethiopian Airlines and other strategic investors to establish a home-based carrier with active Ghanaian participation. The establishment of the carrier has the potential to generate financial and economic benefits with its multiplier effect on Ghana and within the West African sub-region,” she said.

Background

In 2004 Ghana International airlines was established with the Government owning 70% stake while a US consortium GIA-USA had 30 percent. This, however, did not stand the test of time as it collapsed after barely six years of operation.

The airline eventually folded up in 2010 over various issues including lack of funds and debts.

In 2017, the Minister for Aviation hinted that Ghana would have its own national airline within the next two years (2019).

Ms. Dapaah told parliament’s appointment committee that she was convinced the country is ready for a new national airline that will begin its operations within the ECOWAS sub-region.

“I’ve sighted documents that can aid us to have our own airlines. I have talked to the Ghana airports company limited as well as the Ghana Civil aviation authority.

Feasibility studies have been done by the previous government, and I believe we will have a study of the findings and add up what we have received so far and take it up from there.”

The aviation Minister told the committee that she was committed to ensuring that the national airline becomes operational, lamenting that the foreign airlines have taken advantage of the ripe aviation industry and we are making much profit.

“The consultants said two years, and I said we should do it in a year if possible, so between one and two years, I think that should be the period,” She said when answering a question on when the airline will commence operation.

Some players in the aviation industry have called on Ghana to launch a national airline to deepen the country’s participation in the aviation industry following the collapse of the Ghana International airlines.

Successive governments have been working to revive the national airline, but their plans are yet to materialize.

Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, the deputy Transport Minister under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in 2015, gave assurances that the country’s new national airline will be in operation from March 2015, but that target was also missed for undisclosed reasons.