Competition in the Aviation Industry in Ghana is set to be keener as South African Airways (SAA) on Tuesday, re-launched its operations in Ghana after eight months break.
This is as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 and associated restrictions imposed on air travel and closure of some airports across the world.
The re-entry of the SAA into the Ghanaian market was marked by an inaugural flight of its SA 052 airplane from Johannesburg to Accra on Tuesday.
Exactly at 10.54 pm, the Airbus 320 with the capacity to carry 126 passengers arrived at the Kotoka International Airport amidst cultural display, jubilation, presentation of gifts to the passengers who disembarked from the plane with a fountain of water poured on the plane to symbolically mark is inaugural flight to Accra.
The Minister of Roads and Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah in a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy, Hasan Tampuli, said the re-entry of the SAA into the Ghanaian market was timely and commended the management of the company for the decision.
“SAA is re-entering the Ghanaian market at the time when the coronavirus disease has eased and there is a pick up in the aviation industry,” he said.
Mr Asiamah pledged that the government would create the enabling environment for the growth of the aviation industry in Ghana.
“The government will continue to invest infrastructure and lead in policy direction to promote the operations of airlines and the aviation industry,” Mr Asiamah, said.
The minister entreated SAA to keep the COVID-19 safety measures and protocols to protect its customers and to help build the confidence of travellers.
The Country Manager of SAA, Mrs Gloria Wilkinson Mensah said the operation of the company in the country was suspended in March 2020 due to the lockdown and closure of the Kotoka International Airport to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
She said the re-entry of the company to the Ghanaian market would facilitate the movement of air travels from Ghana to South Africa.
“The flying of SAA on the Johannesburg-Accra route will provide seamless and short travel time from Ghana to South Africa and reduce the more than 13 hours it currently takes to fly from Ghana to South Africa via Eastern Africa and Middle East, to less than six hours,” Mrs Mensah, said.
The South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Grace Jeanette Mason said re-entry of SAA in Ghana would help facilitate and boost bilateral co-operation and trade between Ghana and South Africa.
She said it would facilitate travelling between Ghana and South Africa.
Ms Mason indicated that the objective of the management of SAA was to build a sustainable airline business and foster performance excellence and promote good governance practices in the operations of the company.
The Managing Director of the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), Yaw Kwakwa commended the management of SAA for making the re-opening of the company’s operations in Ghana a reality.
He pledged that the GACL would work with stakeholders to make flying easy in the country.
The Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Mr Charles Kraikue urged the company to continue to keep to its high safety and security standards as it resumed operations in the country.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE