The airline would fly five times weekly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays and Sundays, leaving Accra for Abidjan at 1730 hours and departing Abidjan to Accra at 1930 hours on all scheduled days, with the aim of having twice daily flights eventually.
Dr. Brock Friesen, Co-Chief Executive Officer at Starbow made the announcement at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday.
This would be the second regional route being run by Starbow, the first was a flight to Benin’s capital, Cotonou in last August 2012. Three more routes including Sierra-Leone (Freetown) and Monronvia would be added by the end of December, 2012.
He explained that the schedule of the Abidjan flights was put together with the business market in mind.
The flight times would ensure that business people are able to fly to Abidjan in the evening at 1730 hours, have a full day to work the following day and return with the evening flight, which leaves Abidjan at 1930 hours.
This, he said, would reduce costs for business people, who currently have to pay for two nights stay in hotels to do a day’s work.
With Starbow’s services, they would pay for only a day.
Dr. Friesen emphasized that the launch of flights on the two regional routes was part of Starbow’s “grand plan”.
He said the airline’s success on the domestic routes and the experience and expertise build from the first regional route meant “it would grow and quickly; with frequency and with quality service, adding that, the ticket prices are cheaper than what is known in this market.
He noted that air travel in Africa, especially West Africa was unbelievably expensive than anywhere in the world, caused mainly by high airport taxes, high cost of jet fuel and monopoly by the few airlines operating on these routes.
He said the airline intends to add another aircraft to its fleet of three aircraft soon and that in order to achieve the ultimate aim of service in 12 countries; it would have to at least double its fleet size.
On how Starbow would be affected by competition from existing carriers on the regional routes, Dr Friesen said the airline was not worried about competition because the Abidjan route was a large market and an increase in airlines on the route would stimulate growth.
He stated that Starbow would be committed to these routes, which are their home routes unlike fifth freedom carriers (airlines that ply the route as extension or addition to their home routes, such as South African Airways who are doing Abidjan, aside from their home route), who would not be very committed because they are not their home routes.