The year 2023 will mark the beginning of a new era in Ghanaian aviation with the debut of GhanaAirlines. The government of Ghana has named its national carrier ‘GhanaAirlines,’ which is set to come into operation next year. Once Ghana operationalizes the carrier, it will spell an end to the country’s 12-year absence of a flag carrier.
GhanaAirlines-the new home-based carrier of Ghana
On November 24, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced the name of a new home-based carrier ‘GhanaAirlines.’ Despite several alternative names, such as Akwaaba Airlines, Black Star Airlines, and Kente Airlines, the Ghanaian government chose the name after its own country to reflect Ghana’s culture and strengthen the enterprise.
During the 2023 budget presentation before Parliament, the Finance Minister confirmed the completion of shareholders and partnership agreements with the chosen strategic partner for the new flag carrier. He also said that the new home-based airline was expected to take off next year.
Although he didn’t mention further about partners and shareholders, the strategic partner referred to by him is reported to be Ashanti Airlines. In September 2022, this Ghana-based carrier won the tender to run the flag carrier and became the government’s new partner.
Several bidders, like Ethiopian Airlines, Egyptair, Ashanti Airlines, JNH Group, etc., had presented the proposal to operate Ghana’s national airline. But, the government gave the nod to Ashanti Airlines when its owners, Osei Kwame Despite and Ernest Ofori-Sarpong, showed a willingness to meet criteria revolving around preferred routes, management contract deadlines, and financing terms.
According to GhanaWeb, the government’s next investor Ashanti Airlines is concluding financial arrangements to launch GhanaAirlines in 2023. Digging deep into Ashanti’s background, the carrier has already obtained Air Carrier License. With this permit, the local businessmen-backed company can carry out scheduled and chartered passenger and freight operations. Now, it is close to acquiring an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), completing four out of a five-stage process.
GhanaAirlines-hubs and routes
GhanaAirlines, the new national carrier of Ghana, will base its operations in the capital city of Accra. Kotoka International Airport, the sole international air facility in the West African country, will be the new home of GhanaAirlines. Serving the capital of Ghana, this airport (ACC) handles more than 2 million passenger movements every year. The Ghanaian administration aims to cement the status of Accra as a significant aviation hub in West Africa.
Until now, no information regarding GhanaAirlines’ route networks or exact date of operations has been published. The new flag carrier will operate domestic, regional, and international flights within Ghana, Africa, and beyond.
Regarding the fleet, Ashanti’s owners have agreed to procure several aircraft to serve all required routes of the new home-based airline. While the aircraft type is yet to be confirmed, GhanaAirlines is expected to operate Dash 8-400 regional jets and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The Republic of Ghana had placed a provisional order for three B787Dreamliners at November 2019 Dubai Airshow. Signing the provisional orders with Boeing, the aviation minister Joseph Kofi Adda had expressed the intention to establish a new international airline. The state-of-the-art B787s will be instrumental in ferrying Ghanaians to Europe, North America, or Asia for business.
Similarly, the government had also provisionally ordered six smaller Dash 8-400 to operate regional routes within Africa. The Canadian De Havilland Dash 8-400s are ideal for connecting domestic and regional routes within the country and Africa.
Having a flag carrier after 12 years
The nationals of Ghana may finally have their flagship airline after 12 years. Previously, Ghana Airways was the national airline of this African nation before it folded in 2004. Similarly, Ghana International Airlines dubbed the new flag carrier, also ceased its operation in 2010. The West African nation desperately needed a national airline to boost its economy and develop tourism. GhanaAirlines will be influential in representing Ghana internationally, carrying the country’s flag worldwide. It will be a proud Ghanaian global entity that will assist in legitimizing its country abroad and help boost tourism, trade, and public relations.
Airlines in Ghana
There are four airlines currently operating in Ghana, i.e., Africa World Airlines, Air Ghana, Gianair, and Passion Air. Among them, Gianair was the oldest airline, commencing operations in 2009. Passion Air, the domestic airline, launched its operations four years ago in 2018. Africa World Airlines has made a decade-long legacy of flying in the Ghanaian sky by starting operations in 2012. With a fleet size of 5 aircraft, it is the largest airline in the country in terms of passenger numbers.