- Definitive agreements have finally been signed creating a new airline based in Accra, Ghana. The new airline is to become the national air carrier of Ghana, replacing the old national airline, which is currently winding down. Ghanaian authorities and US companies have agreed on its funding.
This was announced by the Ghanaian government and the US consortium GIA-USA LLC on Friday afternoon. "Definitive agreements" had been signed, the two parties announced in a joint press release.
The directors of the new Ghana International Airlines had appointed an executive management team headed by Ralph Atkin, founder of SkyWest Airlines, in the USA, to "immediately commence formation" of the new Ghanaian airline. The consortium promised "an impressive network of flights to and from Europe, North America and Africa using Kotoka International Airport in Accra as a hub."
According to the statement, Mr Atkin had already commenced work on the necessary licenses, amendments to bilateral agreements, and entry into IATA and other international airline industry groups. Mr Atkin informed that, "while the formation process of the new airline took longer than anticipated, I am delighted that we can now focus on supplementing our senior management team to establish the solid foundation on which we will build a world class airline serving West Africa and points in Europe and North America."
Mr Atkin is continuing to work with potential strategic partners on code sharing agreements and other commercial arrangements in preparation for commencement of flight operations scheduled for the second quarter of 2005, the statement said.
- Pre-sale of tickets should commence in March-April 2005, the company announced. Ghana International Airlines was now "actively negotiating for the necessary aircraft to implement its business plan and anticipates an initial fleet of 8 to 10 wide and narrow body aircraft."
The winding down by the Ghanaian government of the operations of the old national airline is continuing and it was expected that this process "will be completed prior to Ghana International Airlines' commencement of flight operations."
Both Ghana International Airlines and the government of Ghana said they "consider the creation of a viable, reliable airline in Ghana to be a critical component of the ongoing economic transformation already underway in Ghana."
Resuming direct flights to and from the USA and improving service to and from Europe were to establish Accra as "the ideal gateway to West Africa, which will stimulate economic growth and tourism in Ghana and the surrounding region." Ghana has emerged the most stable and readily developing country in the West African region during the last years.
The two shareholders behind the new Accra-based company, Ghana International Airlines, are the government of Ghana and the US-based GIA-USA. The latter consortium is a limited liability company formed in the US state of Utah, owned by several companies. These include World Transport Group and Sentry Investments.
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