Ghanaian Government signs Qatar Airways and Air Namibia to start operations soon
Published On 12 Feb, 2018

 

Recently at the 2nd Aviation Breakfast Meeting organised by Aviation Ghana, an aviation-oriented PR organization and online news portal, in collaboration with the Board of Airlines under the auspices of the Aviation Ministry, the Ghanaian government has signed an agreement with two airlines, Doha-based Qatar Airways and Air Namibia. The agreement with Doha-based Qatar Airways is for the Middle East airline to start schedule flight between Accra and Doha, while for Air Namibia it’s a discussion to restart operation for the airline soon.

The air Namibia which started in Accra in 2009 had close business in 2014. Though they are set to come back, Aviation Minister Ms. Cecilia A. Dapaah revealed that discussions are still ongoing and that hopefully the airline will re open soon for operations.

A primary issue for the airline was the difficulty for passengers who were travelling from Ghana to obtain visas. Passengers had to go to Lagos, Nigeria to obtain Namibian Visas.  Recently, the Namibian High Commissioner to Ghana, Charles B. Josob, revealed that an Embassy has now been established in Accra to process visas for travelers. “It is quite easy to get a Namibian visa once you fulfill the very simple requirements, so the issue has been dealt with,” he said.

For the new agreement signed by the government, this will enable the benefits for low fares for passengers travelling to the Middle East, Far East and South East Asian Countries. Anticipated competition between Qatar, Emirates and Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines will be expected.
According to Ms. Cecilia A. Dapaah, she said: “We have signed an agreement with Qatar Airways. Air Namibia wants to come back, and I believe other airlines are also considering coming over”.
She also added that the operations of scheduled flights into Accra would make Ghana the second city in the West Africa sub-region, that Qatar Airways will serves.The airline already has deep footprints in East, South and North Africa. It offers flights between Doha and Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Entebbe, Kigali, Addis Ababa, Djibouti, and Khartoum among others – all in East Africa. In Southern Africa, the airline operates flights to and from Windhoek, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Maputo.

Currently talking of Ghana’s home based carrier, AWA (Africa World Airlines) is Ghana’s only home-based carrier operating regional flights from Accra to Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria, and Monrovia in Liberia.
AWA is now the only carrier providing domestic aviation services between the country’s capital Accra and major economic and commercial hubs such as Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale. The huge demand for domestic air services that AWA has to meet forced the airline to increase its frequency on the Kumasi and Tamale routes.
Ms. Dapaah commented on the support of the airline “We now have a problem with our domestic airline provision. AWA is now saddled with the huge responsibility of meeting demand. I am sure it is affecting the big guys, as local airlines bring people to Accra for onward transport by the big, long-haul carriers.
We are looking at various ways to make sure we help AWA resolve this issue. Nobody wished the Starbow incident would happen, but it happened and we must deal with it. So, very soon, we will have some positive news,”
Response of other Airlines.
Accra District Manager, EgyptAir, Ahmed El-Banhawy, on Behalf of the Board of Airlines said: “It is gratifying to note that last year the Hon. Minister clarified the road map for positioning Ghana as a hub and spoke in West Africa.

“Furthermore, a fruitful discussion has taken place, as some requests were made by airlines and policymakers have showed true commitment to help address them.”

He noted: “Along the year, a kind of collaboration between parties has been set: for instance, they prepared a draft for Passenger Rights and Consumer Protection Directives in cooperation between GCAA and airlines. A visit was arranged by GACL for the airlines to see developments at the new Terminal 3 at Kotoka International Airport that will soon open, and we need all the support to provide the best of service to our passengers and help to maximise the operation from there. Also, insurance cover provision is currently being discussed by the airlines and GACL.”

At the meeting, the minister, directed the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL)  to the airports operator , telling them to temporarily suspend the demand for all airlines to insure all their staff who handle ground operations at the Kotoka International Airport before passes are issued.
She said: “Airports Company, please hold on to that and issue their passes while further discussions are held about the policy”.
The decision was well-received by airlines because new requirement would have increased their cost of operations.

The Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Ing. Simon Allotey, and Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited, Mr. John Attafuah, promised airlines of closer collaboration to make certain that their will be growth in the sector.
“We have invested in modern navigational equipment at the Kumasi, Tamale and Wa airports. We will work to ensure that safety is not compromised and guarantee the highest safety standards in the country.”

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