Ghana's outgoing Minister for Aviation, Cecilia Dapaah, has confirmed that at least three foreign firms have been shortlisted by the Ghanaian government over their interest in its planned new national carrier.
“Cabinet has given approval for the ministries to negotiate with Air Mauritius and Abu Dhabi Aviation, whilst continuing with Ethiopian Airlines and other strategic investors to establish a home-based carrier with active Ghanaian participation," she was quoted by the official Ghana News Agency (GNA). "The establishment of the carrier has the potential to generate financial and economic benefits with its multiplier effect on Ghana and within the West African sub-region."
Speaking before parliament's appointment committee, Dapaah said feasibility studies on the project were done by the previous John Mahama administration but that further investigations were needed before a final decision could be made. As such, if the official nod is given, it could take up to two years for the project to materialize and launch.
“The consultants said [it would take] two years, and I said we should do it in a year if possible, so between one and two years, I think that should be the period,” she said.
The carrier would allow the Ghanaian government to tap into Ghana's booming international traffic demand which, given the dearth of locally-flagged airlines flying abroad, is currently controlled almost entirely by foreign operators. According to the ch-aviation capacity module, only one Ghanaian carrier currently flies abroad - Africa World Airlines - offering 2,050 seats/week for flights to Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The figure accounts for a paltry 4.94% of the country's total international weekly seating capacity.
Dapaah later told a media conference on Monday, August 19, that a new and updated aviation master plan would need to be drawn up if the country was to effectively compete for investment in the West African region. Once completed, the plan would then be submitted to the African Development Bank and the Kuwait Fund for assessment and possible financing.
As part of the push to draw investment into Ghana's aviation market, the Ghanaian government last week signed an agreement with the Egyptian government wherein EgyptAir Maintenance & Engineering will establish an aircraft MRO facility at Accra Kotoka International Airport. Neither the scale of the facility nor its timeframes were disclosed.