Ghana, a country located in West Africa is predominately serviced by Ghana International Airlines (GIA), which is also the national carrier of the country. GIA's hub is at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra,, which is also used by Antrak Air and Johnson’s Air as their hub.
The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) controls the regulations in relation to civil aviation and provides air navigation services.
Airports in Ghana
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fastjet has reported a USD42 million net loss for the six months to 30-Jun-2013, but its directors remain upbeat about the fledgling African LCC’s prospects, with its Tanzanian domestic operations exceeding expectations and making a profit on an underlying route basis. But the directors acknowledge in the unaudited accounts that the carrier will need to raise further funds in the future “which represents a material uncertainty over going concern”.
fastjet’s ambition to establish Africa's first pan-African low-cost carrier is continuing to encounter strong headwinds. On its own admission, the Tanzanian market is too small to sustain the company and international expansion is critical to its longer term survival.
But the first international route from Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg has, perhaps predictably, run foul of South Africa’s bureaucrats forcing the eleventh hour postponement of the route launch by about two weeks to the middle of Oct-2013. fastjet will compete against South African Airways (SAA) as the only other operator on the route and has promised to reduce fares by 60%. fastjet is taking online bookings for flights departing from 18-Oct-2013.
fastjet has suffered a baptism of fire since entering the African market through the acquisition of the Fly540-branded aviation business of British conglomerate Lonrho and a 49% stake in Kenya’s Five Forty Aviation in Jul-2012.
The carrier holds ambitions to establish the first pan-African LCC airline by creating a series of fastjet branded airlines throughout the continent under a common sales and service platform. But a series of setbacks including a bitter legal dispute over the ownership of the Fly540 Kenya interest, unexpected delays in gaining rights to operated international services from its Tanzania home base, attempts to enter the South African market and underperforming Fly540 subsidiaries in Ghana and Angola have all conspired in fastjet posting a USD56 million loss for the 18 months to 31-Dec-2012.
Nevertheless, the company remains confident it will succeed. fastjet executive chairman David Lenigas stated: “The next few months will represent a greater transformation for the Company as we endeavour to further implement and grow the fastjet business model. The board is confident it has the right strategy and team in place to build a successful and profitable future for our shareholders”.
fastjet is pushing ahead with expansion plans to create a pan-African low-cost carrier network, adding two more routes to its Tanzania domestic network in Mar-2013, applying to operate its Fly540 between Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg and continuing to negotiate a deal to buy South African LCC 1time from its liquidators.
London Stock Exchange-listed fastjet will launch daily services to Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar and Mwanza on 18-Mar-2013, increasing its network by 50%. The carrier launched in Nov-2012 with two routes from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kilimanjaro.
fastjet acquired the Fly540 aviation business of British-based African-focused investment firm Lonrho in Jun-2012, including its operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Ghana. The Fly540 operation will be progressively rebranded as fastjet and adopt its hybrid LCC model. The carrier has a licensing and consulting agreement with easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s easyGroup, which also holds a 5% stake in the company
The carrier is, however, dealing with a raft of claims relating to the troubled takeover of Five Forty Aviation operations ranging from outstanding debts, including unpaid aircraft leases, airport fees, bank guarantees and taxes.
Fastjet has secured its entry into the Kenyan market and its first expansion outside Tanzania and access to the key Nairobi hub by throwing a lifeline to collapsed local carrier Jetlink Express.
The two carriers signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 28-Jan-2013 to create a joint venture allowing fastjet to launch its brand in Kenya in the next few months.
Fastjet launched two domestic routes from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in Nov-2012 with A319 aircraft, rebranding and refleeting its newly acquired Fly540 operation in the country. The carrier also owns the Fly540 regional operations in Angola and Ghana.
The bigger Kenyan market will provide a strong launch pad for further Eastern African expansion, including the development of links with international carriers which are already being explored.
Nigeria's government talks of rebuilding a failing airline industry in 2013. But the path is unclear
Nigerian aviation industry is at its lowest ebb in 20 years following a year that saw a crash kill 163 people, the collapse of a major airline and a domestic financing ban on the country’s two remaining largest carriers, one of which was also temporarily grounded by industrial action allegedly over outstanding debts.
Faced with a market that has been reduced to an effective duopoly between Arik Air and Aero, along with the associated very high air fares and often systemic corruption, the Nigerian Government is talking of pulling out the stops in 2013 to encourage more investment in the scheduled aviation sector – including fast tracking registration of four new unidentified airlines and the establishment of a new national carrier.
Both these initiatives were to have been fulfilled by the end of 2012, but have failed to meet the deadline.
Africa’s potentially rich aviation pickings are attracting a new breed of start-ups. Some, like Starbow and FastJet, have ambitions to develop pan-African networks through franchise models. Others, including Africa World Airlines and Korongo Airlines, are focused on their domestic markets and regional services to neighbouring states. Yet a third grouping, led by ECAir, have established inter-continental operations.
While several of the start-ups are backed by their respective governments, it is notable that the strongest contenders are either largely or wholly privately owned and funded.
This new generation of carrier could provide the answer to Africa’s lack of domestic and intra-continental air services by increasing route options, lowering fares and making air travel affordable to the growing middle class.
Aviation enjoys a natural advantage as a means of connecting cities, where most of Africa suffers from poor or non-existent ground transport infrastructure.