LONDON – Ghana has had multiple national airlines, including Ghana Airways which ceased operations in 2004 and Ghana International Airlines, which followed six years later in 2010. This created a vacuum in the Ghanian aviation landscape and this made lots of stakeholders feel the need to create a national carrier out of pride.
But finally, the wait is over, the country is once again preparing to welcome its flag carrier. The presumptive airline’s partner will announce its partner by the end of July this year, 12 years on and a new flag carrier is about to be resurrected.
The new ‘flag carrier’ will soon choose its partner where contestants are being shortlisted: Ashanti Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines (EA) and financial firm JNH Group. These airlines have been recognized as potential partners. Ashanti Airlines is owned by a Ghanian business magnate Osei Kwame Despite co-founder of Despite Group.
Egypt Air is the flag carrier of Egypt with its operating base in Cairo. Based in Addis Ababa, is a well known Ethiopian Airlines. Lastly, JNH Group is a Ghanaian management consultancy firm and brokerage.
Multiple sources say that Ashanti Airlines is likely to win the bidding process, as it is a home-grown company.
Currently, Ashanti Airlines is gearing up for launch and it is its last stage of obtaining the licenses demanded by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). Ashanti Airlines has already received the Air Carrier License (ACL) and is now in the process of receiving the Air Operator Certificate (AOC).
Years ago, the Ghanian government has offered opportunities for partnering up with the ‘new’ flag carrier. Airlines such as Ethiopian Airlines, Air Mauritius, and Africa World Air were among the players interested.
At the 2019 Dubai Air Show, the government was eyeing three 787-9 for long haul routes. The airline also expresses interest in six Dash 8-400 aircraft.
“There is a growing demand for air travel to and from Ghana and we believe the advanced 787-9 Dreamliner gives us an efficient and flexible machine to launch a regional network and eventually serve international destinations in the future”. Said Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda.
In fact, there was finally light at the end of the tunnel for the resurrection of the flag carrier, when the Ghanian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopian Airlines, a heavyweight in Africa in May 2019.
The ‘new’ airline under the 2019 MoU was supposed to start operations in late 2019 or early 2020 but never materialised. The airline intended to fly intended for domestic, regional and international services.
“The government of Ghana will have a ten per cent stake while private investors from Ghana will have a minimum of 41 per cent stake in the Joint Venture Company.”
“Investment firms from other West African countries may invest in the new venture. Ethiopian and the government of Ghana will together look for potential investors.” Said a close source on the involvement of the folded projected.
The reason for failure was caused by many aspects, such as disagreements with important issues, like routes, financings and management tensions between the Ghanian government and Ethiopian Airlines. As a result, the Ghanian government swayed its partnership with Egypt Air, and an MoU was signed in 2020. A source said that this new MoU was: “more favourable terms.”