Domestic airline operators are bracing up for a new challenge servicing the two newly-built airports in the Volta and Upper West Regions.
Africa World Airlines (AWA) and Starbow currently operate flights between Accra and Tamale, Kumasi and Takoradi.
But with both the Ho and Wa airports in the Volta and Upper West regions respectively expected to be inaugurated by end of the month, questions have been raised about the capacity of the domestic operators to service the new airports.
With two surviving operators, down from about five airlines a decade ago, they face an uphill task to meet the future demand.
Richard Kyereh, Deputy Head of Commercial, Africa World Airlines (AWA), however, believes that operators have the ability to meet any future demand.
“As an airline, we have our business model and ready to tap into any opportunity that comes our way, so if the airports in Ho and WA become serviceable, Africa World Airlines is ready to tap in to this opportunity and service that route effectively,” he told the B&FT on the sidelines of the re-launch AWA’s Accra-Takoradi service.
The Ho airport is sited on a 1,500 acre land. It has a runway length of 1,900 metres, air traffic control tower, 1,150 capacity passenger waiting area, ultramodern air bus terminal and automatic fire detection systems.
The runway is completed, while the terminal building is expected to be completed soon.
On the Wa airport, the facility has undergone extensive renovation including the construction of a suitable terminal building and construction of a new runway. The perimeter has also been fenced to make it suitable and safe for commercial operations.
AWA now operates twice-daily flights between Accra-Takoradi. The airline’s early morning flight departs the domestic terminal of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for Takoradi at 6am local time. The return flight leaves the Takoradi Airport at 7: 10am.
The evening flight departs Accra at 4:20pm. The return flight leaves Takoradi 5:30pm. The new service by AWA is expected to deepen competition of the route already operated by Starbow.
Mr. Kyereh added that: “We have had a lot of requests from our corporate clients and the flying public to render our good services on this route. So based on this outcry and the demand in Takoradi, we have chosen to commence this scheduled service. We will bring to our experience and quality of service we render on the Accra-Tamale, Accra-Kumasi and Accra-Lagos routes to bear on the Accra-Takoradi route.
Having a monopoly on the route is not good for our flying public. With our service delivery and on-time operations, we are good players to service this route. “