Ghana Prepares For Launch of Brand New Flag Carrier

The Republic of Ghana has revealed plans to relaunch its national airline by way of events at this year's Dubai Airshow. These include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing for three 787-9 Dreamliners with a list value of US$877.5 million and the signing of a Letter of Intent with De Havilland Canada for the purchase of up to six Dash 8-400 aircraft. This move serves to cement reports of the relaunch, such as the reported strategic partnership between the Government of Ghana and Ethiopian Airlines towards establishing a home-based carrier.

Photo by Boeing

According to the Ghanaian Minister of Aviation, Honorable Joseph Kofi Adda, the intended purchases will support the development of a new national airline, and provide a strong foundation by which the capital city, Accra, could become the regional aviation hub of West Africa.

Additionally, the Minister noted that future routes would include destinations in Europe, North America and Asia and the long-term plan would be to open the airline to private investment and operation.

The carrier would therefore battle it out in the skies with other West African players such as Air Peace and Air Senegal, both of which also announced aircraft orders at the Dubai Airshow in an attempt to edge themselves out as regional bigwigs in commercial aviation. Domestically, the airline would face competition from Accra-based airlines Passion Air and Africa World Airlines (AWA), the latter of which operates flights to Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale. However, according to Sean Mendis, Chief Operating Officer of AWA, the airline has been continuously engaged in discussions with the Ministry of Aviation to partner with them on the project of establishing a new airline.

The Government of Ghana signed a Letter of Intent with De Havilland Canada for the purchase of up to six Dash 8-400 aircraft at the Dubai Airshow. Photo by De Havilland Aircraft

If all goes well, the yet-to-be-named airline would serve as a replacement to the long defunct Ghana Airways which collapsed in 2004 largely due to mismanagement. At the time of its collapse, the airline was in debt to the tune of about US$160 million. In its heyday, the carrier served domestic and regional routes, and boasted of an international network that consisted of flights from its base in Accra to London, Rome, and Zurich. The city's Kotoka International Airport (IATA: ACC) international reach is now served by, among others, Brussels Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Kenya Airways. In October 2018, Emirates served the Dubai-Accra route with a one-off A380 service, which is otherwise operated by a B777-300ER.

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