Business News of Tuesday, 30 August 2016
The national carrier of South Africa, the South African Airways (SAA), has bought into moves by the government to make Ghana the aviation hub in West Africa and has pledged its commitment to helping the country realise that goal.
Consequently, the airline has expressed its readiness to use its experiences and expertise in the airline business in helping Ghana to establish a national carrier.
The South African Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Lulama Xingwana, explained in Accra that the South Africa government and SAA had realised that unlike some countries in the West African sub-region, Ghana was blessed with enormous potential in the aviation industry, hence the decision to help the country to exploit them.
For a start, Ms Xingwana said, SAA was putting in place a conducive environment that would inspire skills transfer between employees and their Ghanaian counterparts in the airline management and operation business.
The idea is to ensure that “Ghana can one day stand on its own and run an airline,” she said at a special dinner to mark the one-year anniversary of SAA’s direct flights from Accra to Washington in the United States of America (USA).
SAA, which has been in operation for over eight decades, flies to almost every continent.
In August, last year, it commenced direct flights to Washington from Ghana, making it possible for passengers to do non-stop journeys from Ghana to the USA.
The move has since been a reprieve to many passengers on that route, especially to business executives and traders.
After doing non-stop for a year, the ambassador said the airline and South Africa had realised that the Accra-Washington route “is not only the best in West Africa but is one of the best globally.”
She thus reaffirmed the commitment of the airline to invest more into the route with the aim of helping give passengers more comfort.
Reasons for success
She attributed the progress of the airline within the last year to greater collaboration between it and the government of Ghana and its partners, which helped to create a conducive environment for it to operate efficiently.
As a result, Ms Xingwana thanked domestic carrier, African World Airlines (AWA) for feeding SAA’s Accra-Washington route with passengers from the sub-region.
Going forward, the ambassador said the airline would continue to improve upon its services with the aim of ensuring that it delivered the best services to passengers.