Africa World Airlines (AWA), a leading regional and domestic operator, is set to commence regional flights from major regional capital in the country to Lagos and Abuja, the commercial and administrative capitals of populous West Africa neighbours, Nigeria.
Africa World Airlines will by mid-year, start Kumasi-Lagos-Kumasi, Tamale-Lagos-Tamale and Takoradi-Lagos-Takoradi flights.
The airline, sources say, will also start a direct service between Accra and Abuja–the administrative capital of Nigeria. The airline’s growth strategy is buoyed by its recent acquisition of a fifth aircraft.
The new route, when it commences, will be the single biggest driver of intra-Africa travel within the sub-region.
Ghana and Nigeria are two of the biggest economies in the sub-region. Currently, the two countries are said to account for about 68 percent of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Nigeria accounts for almost 10 percent of Ghana’s foreign trade volume, whereas Ghana is listed as the 9th largest trade partner for Nigeria—despite entry difficulties for some Ghanaian firms over the years.
In spite of the difficulties, Ghana remains Nigeria’s largest trade partner and favourite investment hub in the West Africa sub-region, as Ghana imports the largest share of all Nigerian oil exports in the West African sub-region.
In the financial sector, there are a number of Nigerian banks currently operating in Ghana.
Given the sheer volume of trade between the two countries, the Lagos-Accra-Lagos route is now served by Arik Air, Med-View Airlines and most recently Air Peace, all from Nigeria.
Africa World Airlines (AWA) is the only indigenous carrier servicing the route. AWA currently flies four times daily between Accra and Lagos at 6.20AM, 9.25AM, 12.30PM, and 5.30PM local time.
Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) data show that international passenger arrivals have rebounded over the last two years—when the Ebola epidemic in 2014 led to a sharp decline.
Total international passenger throughput increased from 1.651million in 2014 to 1.7million in 2015. It further increased to 1.75million passengers as at December 31, 2016. This indicate a growing sector that indigenous airlines can tap into.
Africa World Airlines was incorporated on November 15, 2010 as a joint-venture between HNA Group (China) — parent company of Hainan Airlines, the only Skytrax rated five-star airline in China, founded in 1993; SAS Finance Group (Ghana); China-Africa Development Fund (CAD-Fund, China); and the Social Security and National Insurance (SSNIT).