Posted by Wole Shadare
…Embrace PPP model
Ethiopian CEO seek 3% rise in traffic for Africa
Nigeria and some African nations are bracing up for the resuscitation or creating new national airlines for their countries, New Telegraph has gathered. While the government of Nigeria had set up an advisory committee to fashion out plans for a new national airline, the Ghanaian government has mandated 2019 as deadline for the take off its new national airline.
Ghana’s Minister of Aviation, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, disclosed this at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s Africa Debate on factors that all the continent’s airlines held in Accra, Ghana. She stated that the plan to make this come to fruition was already on, adding that come 2019, Ghana would have a new national airline. Dapaah said: “We just have to revive our national airline. Ghana is down, Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways is flying high and Egypt Air is just there. We just need to get our acts together.
We already have approval from the cabinet and we are going to fashion a way to achieve this.” She said the nation is considering two options, adding that it is either through full blown government ownership like in the case of Ethiopian Airways or through public private partnership (PPP) option.
Dapaah also noted that the country needs to also have a budget airline to feed the proposed national airline to service where it cannot operate to, just as she lauded the idea for national airlines for countries on the continent.
She stated that the government of Ghana would renegotiate the existing Fifth Freedom Traffic right once the new airline comes on-board to serve the sub-regional aviation market. Dapaah said her newly created ministry would review existing Fifth Freedom Rights when they expire, to ensure that the country benefit from the gains of the budding West African aviation sector. Her words: “We will renegotiate and get the best for our nation, Ghana. Fifth Freedom Rights are for a specified period.”
The Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, also expressed the group’s readiness to partner with Ghana to help rebuild national airlines. He said the plan is part of the group’s agenda to expand its reach in West Africa by owning a substantial part of sub-region’s aviation industry. Speaking to this newspaper in Accra, GebreMariam stated that it is time for Africa to increase its stake of three per cent control in the aviation industry.
Recounting the good days of the defunct Ghana Airways, GebreMariam, said that Ghana used to lead in the sub-region with its national carrier flying to Europe and America. Aside Nigeria and Ghana, which have firm plans for establishment of national airlines, Zambia, Uganda and South Sudan are all exploring creating new airlines, as they push back against the economic realities of depending on foreign or privately-owned carriers, but there is also a healthy dose of the pursuit of national pride.
Early last year, two Airbus A320 jets took off from Kinshasa’s Ndjili International Airport, flagged off by a beaming president, Joseph Kabila, heralding the start of operations by Congo Airways. Congo Airways operate services to eight towns and cities, with this projected to be expanded to 14 after three years.
No date was given for the start of commercial flights, but it is expected to be a matter of weeks. The Congolese airline joins a growing list of African countries pursuing flag carriers – a particularly grand gesture that asserts a country’s visibility, but which is rarely supported by economic fundamentals.