Ghana ditches Ethiopian Airline for EgyptAir as partner for national carrier relaunch

AFRICA – The government of Ghana has chosen EgyptAir as the preferred strategic partner in the establishment of a new viable national carrier for the country.

According to a report by GhanaWeb, the Cairo-based airline which is the national carrier for Egypt presented a remarkably attractive proposal to Ghana’s committee of aviation experts.

The committee of aviation experts constituted by the Aviation Ministry, is said to have deemed the proposal to be ‘much better’ than what was proposed by Africa’s biggest airline, Ethiopian Airlines.

Following its appointment as the preferred carrier of choice, Egypt Air and Ghana’s Aviation officials will in the coming days sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize the partnership.

The agreement is also expected to be submitted to Ghana’s Parliament for approval in the coming weeks.

A leading airline in Middle East and Africa, EgyptAir currently operates scheduled passenger and freight services to more than 75 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

As at 2019, the airline which is a star alliance member had fleet size of 69 aircrafts comprised of Boeing Dreamliners, Airbus wide body jets, and Embraer freighters.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation sector, EgyptAir has remained resilient in its operations, relaunching operations to at least 47 destinations including Kigali in Rwanda, Entebbe in Uganda and Johannesburg in South Africa.

Late last month, Egypt’s finance ministry said it will guarantee long-term financing of 3 billion Egyptian pounds (US$191 million) from the central bank for EgyptAir to help maintain its operations.

Given its robust air routes and significant financial backing from its home government, EgyptAir is thus well positioned to undertake the responsibility of supporting Ghana relaunch its national carrier.

Prior to the agreement with Egypt Air, an initial Memorandum of Understanding had been signed with Ethiopian Airlines for the revival of Ghana airlines.

Ethiopian Airlines was to be the strategic partner with up to a 49 percent stake in the airline while the remainder was to be held by the state, interested individuals and institutional investors.

However, the choice of Ethiopian Airlines as the strategic partner was held back due to a lack of agreement over key issues such as routes and tenure of the management contract.

Ghana’s desire to establish a new flag carrier  was however not dimmed by the development and it continues to pursue that journey out of the desire to leverage the facilitating role of aviation for one of the fastest-growing economies in the world pre-COVID-19.

The country seeks to become the aviation hub of the sub-region, and this is seen as a key part of that project.

National pride and recapturing the old routes plied by the defunct Ghana Airways are also some of the key motivations.

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