You are here: HomeBusiness2012 09 22Article 251116

Business News of Saturday, 22 September 2012

Source: GNA

Africa World Airline launched

A new airline to serve the domestic and regional air travel industry, Africa World Airline (AWA), has been launched in Accra.

The launch, which was scheduled to coincide with the 103rd birthday celebration of Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on 21st September, as evidence of the airline’s commitment to achieving the vision of Dr Nkrumah to integrate the West African sub-region.

Togbe Afede IV, founder of AWA and chairman for the occasion, said the airline would build its strength on three main things: safety, reliability and efficiency.

He said AWA would ensure that travelers on the airline enjoyed safe flights by investing in the maintenance of their fleet. He also promised reliable service to travelers.

“We intend our growth to mirror that of HNA, which currently has a fleet of about 400 aircrafts” he added.

Togbe Afede IV also noted that the involvement of the social security and national trust (SSNIT), as a shareholder in the airline, was very significant as it made it a Ghanaian airline that might fly the national colours.

He called on all stakeholders and Ghanaians to work with them to achieve their aim of making air travel an option for the majority of Ghanaians, who otherwise did not consider air travel whenever they were making plans to travel.

Shareholders in AFA include SAS Finance Group, of which Togbe Afede is the CEO, SSNIT Ghana, HNA Aviation Holdings-China and China-Africa Development Fund (CADFUND).

Madam Akua Sena Dansua, Deputy Minister of Tourism, commended the founder of the Airline and noted that air travel was a critical component in the tourism industry.

She said tourists and other travelers had to endure long hours of transit when travelling within Ghana as well as in the sub-region due to the limited number of airlines operating on those routes, adding that the increase in the number of airlines with the addition of AWA would bring competition to the industry thus reducing fares and making it accessible to all.

She also called on the Chinese investors to spread their tentacles to other areas in the tourism industry including construction of hotels for tourists.

Mr. Gong Jianzhong, Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, described the launch as a milestone in China-Africa cooperation, saying “it is a bridge that shortens the distance between China and Ghana.

He noted that Accra was becoming a logistic hub in the West African sub-region and that the participation of competent shareholders in AWA will play an important role in promoting Accra Ghana as hub for aviation.

He pledged the Chinese government’s readiness to work closely with Ghana for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Mr. Chi Jianxin, Chief Executive Officer of CADFUND, said the fund had decided to invest in AWA because Ghana was a good investment destination, with a stable political climate.

He said AWA was the first airline that CADFUND had invested in and expressed the hope that it would boost the Ghana-China friendship. AWA will operate to Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale, beginning from today Friday.