Ghanaian startup Africa World Airlines (AWA) has entered into a joint venture with Haiku based Hainan Airlines (HU) which will see the Chinese carrier taking a controlling stake in the soon-to-be launched Low Cost Carrier, the third of its type to launch in Ghana after Starbow Airlines, fly540 Ghana and CTK CiTylinK.
Under the deal, management for AWA will be sourced from HNA Carriers, Hainan Airlines' parent company.
|An Africa World Airlines (AWA) advertisement.|
Other shareholders in the joint venture in addition to Hainan Airlines will be the China-Africa Development Fund, Ghana SAS Financial Group and Ghana Social Security and National Insurance Trust of Ghana.
"The Chinese carrier said that “big market demand for air transport industry in Ghana and other parts of West Africa triggered by the backwardness of ground traffic” is the main reason it decided to launch AWA. But industry analysts also pointed out that “instability of political situation and harsh natural environment in Africa” would present some challenges for the successful operation of the new Joint Venture."
Founded by Ghana's Togbe Afede XIV, a king from eastern Ghana's Asogli state, Africa World Airlines aims to launch in September with two Embraer ERJ145LR aircraft from Tianjin Airlines, with its initial route network set to focus on its Accra, Ghana hub and domestic destinations, before expanding into the region, pending regulatory approval. Should it be feasible, AWA's international expansion would only likely occur after five years, a sufficiently long-term date to quell any immediate concerns about 'over-reaching' - a major mistake that has been the undoing of many African carriers in the past, mostly due to its allure and prestige.