Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines has indicated interest in partnering government of Ghana in the establishment of a new national airline, bringing to four the number of airlines who have so far expressed firm interest in the new venture.
The aviation sector has been growing by about 10 percent annually over the past decade. In 2017, total international passenger throughput—arrival and departure-- hit 1.8million.
Government is seeking to establish a new national airline to tap into the current growth in the aviation sector in Ghana and the projected growth in the sector globally over the next 20 years.
Mahmut Yayla, Turkish Airlines’ Vice President Sale, North Europe, speaking to some selected journalists at the airline’s headquarters in the Turkish commercial capital, Istanbul, said that: “We are open on this project [partnering Ghana’s government to establish an airline] and our board will decide.”
The Aviation Ministry, which is leading the initiative to establish a national airline under a public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement in order to realize the vision of making Ghana an aviation hub in the sub-region has, prior to Turkish Airline’s interest, received three proposals from three internationally renowned airlines based in Africa.
Global passenger traffic grew impressively again in 2016, with 6.3% year over year growth, supporting an increase in the passenger fleet of aircraft over 100 seats to over 19,000 aircraft, and also supporting record levels of deliveries from the manufacturers.
The latest Airbus Global Market Forecast 2017-2036 titled: Growing Horizons, shows that
over half of the world’s tourists who travel across international borders each year are transported by air. Air passengers benefited from oil prices which remained relatively low, with airlines able to choose between stimulating the market through lower yields and therefore ticket prices, and their margins.
“Air traffic continues to prove its resilience to slow economic growth by outperforming global GDP, demonstrating the world’s appreciation of the benefits aviation brings.
For the next 20 years, the Airbus GMF forecasts a 4.4% global annual air traffic growth, despite some downward revision of future economic growth by a number of forecasters in several regions of the world. In our forecast the first decade will enjoy a 4.9% increase per year, with 4.1% average annual growth for the last decade, a lower figure but growth in those years based on absolute traffic numbers higher than today,” the report said.
The demise of Ghana Airways
For decades, Ghana Airways was the national airline with the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) as its hub.
However, the airline -- ridden with debt, ceased operations in 2004. Attempts were made to revive its fortunes but to no avail, and in June 2005 the airline was liquidated.
The government, with the support of private investors, then established Ghana International Airlines (GIA). The airline faced difficulties and eventually suspended its operations in May 2010. Some loose ends in the liquidation process are still being tightened.
Turkish Airlines’ growth
Turkish Airlines this year has launched flights to various destinations around the world, including Moroni, the capital of the Union of the Comoros in Africa.
At the end of 2017, the airlines’ load factor was 79.1%. In addition to this, the seat occupancy rates on its newly launched routes were very satisfactory. Before Turkish Airlines opens a new route, a long process of research and evaluation takes place at first.
It's not just the commercial value that is taken into consideration when launching a new route, but also its primary mission of reaching every corner of the globe to be the Turkey's ambassador brand in those destinations.
Counting cargo, passenger and training aircrafts, the total number of aircraft in Turkish Airlines fleet is 326. The average age of the fleet is about seven years, making it one of the youngest in Europe.
With the aircrafts which Turkish Airlines will take the delivery in forthcoming years, the size of the fleet will reach to 421, and the overall age of them will remain roughly the same.
As a prominent subsidiary of Turkish Airlines, Turkish Cargo uses the extensive passenger fleet of Turkish Airlines to carry cargo to 300 destinations that the global carrier currently serves.
Apart from this fleet, Turkish Cargo has also 15 dedicated cargo aircrafts, which offer dedicated cargo flights to 73 destinations around the world. Thanks to this wide cargo network, the company carried 1.128.878 tons of cargo in 2017 - an increase of 26,15%, compared to the previous year.
Given the strength of this European carrier strategically located on the crossroad of Europe and Asia, and with most Africa Destinations within six hours of its hub, Turkish Airlines represents a credible addition to the list of airlines who have expressed interest in partnering government to establish a new national airline.