AWA takes delivery of third aircraft
Africa World Airlines (AWA) on Monday, took delivery of a new aircraft, bringing the total number of aircraft in its fleet to three, ahead of the start of its regional flights to Lagos, Nigeria.
The ERJ 145, 50-seater aircraft was flown from Beijing- China on a four-day journey to Accra’s Kotoka International Airport by a three-man, all-Ghanaian crew and with three engineers form the airline on board.
Speaking in an interview with the GNA, Mr Apiigy Afenu, Chief Operating Officer of AWA said the aircraft was the youngest in its fleet at only three years old, while the existing ones were about six years old.
He noted that the airline was committed to contributing to Ghana’s economy by providing employment for Ghanaians. He said AWA currently employs about 112 people with all except four being Ghanaians. Out of this number, it had ten pilots and was in the process of recruiting four more.
“We are not joking, we plan to increase employment for Ghanaians” he stated.
On how far preparations for its Lagos flight had gone, Mr Afenu noted that almost all preparations had been completed, schedules and prices had been loaded and that they were now waiting for approval of the schedules by authorities in Nigeria so they can start announcing them to the public.
He added that flight from Accra to Abuja would commence two weeks after the start of the Accra-Lagos route. Those to the other regional capitals to which AWA had designations would tentatively commence in January 2014.
He also revealed that AWA’s fleet would receive another boost in February and March with the delivery of two larger aircrafts.
Captain Kwesi Oteng, one of the pilots who flew the aircraft from Beijing to Accra, sharing his experience, told the GNA that the journey had been very long, taking four days, with 5-6 hours of flying each day. He said though the weather had been challenging in some areas, the crew were well trained and able to handle the aircraft.
He stressed that the delivery of the aircraft was not just a bonus to the AWA but also to Ghana as a nation as it was proving that it was possible to run the venture with a wholly Ghanaian expertise, and would be able to employ many Ghanaians who are being trained in the field of aviation.
Touching on the impending flights to Abuja, Captain Oteng noted that since most of the pilots were Ghanaian and had worked extensively in the sub-region, the route would not be new to them, which was a plus for the airline. “We hope that after the regional, we will be able to start international flights as well” he concluded.