ROUTES AFRICA: Africa World Airlines in Advanced Talks on Nigerian Expansion

Ghanaian newcomer Africa World Airlines has ambitious plans to expand its activities into international markets ahead of its first anniversary in September this year. The airline launched flights on September 21, 2013 using two Embraer ERJ-145s sourced from the Tianjin Airlines subsidiary of one of its shareholders, HNA Group. It is initially serving domestic routes but plans regional and even intercontinental growth with the first international market set to be Nigeria.

The airline, which is a joint venture between the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Ghana, the Strategic African Securities, China-Africa Development Fund and HNA Group of China, is one of four airlines currently flying domestic routes in the country. It currently operates daily flights between Accra and Tamale and Kumasi and it has plans to increase the frequency of these routes to meet growing demand as well as introducing flights to Takoradi.

Having established itself locally and recently launching bookings via its web platform, Africa World Airlines is now in a position grow in the international market, according to its Marketing Manager, Razak Tachie. In a recent interview he said that significant progress had been made with plans to fly to Lagos and Abuja and was confident flights to the two Nigerian cities would also start before their first anniversary. “If [Nigeria's] Ministry of Transport gives the go-ahead to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority then we can start”, he said.

Africa World Airlines’ ambitious growth plan includes further growth across West Africa and even further field as it attempts to enhance connectivity in the continent. The airline plans to acquire more aircraft and gradually expand to regional destinations such as Ouagadougou, Abidjan, Port Harcourt, Conakry, Dakar and Banjul, but also Johannesburg Harare, Entebbe and Luanda. These regional routes will likely served by larger aircraft, most likely Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 and could provide feed to expand into markets outside of Africa, but this is not part of the business plan for the initial five years of operation.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…