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DUBAI: Ghana signs for 787s and Dash 8s to equip new carrier

Ghana's government has signed tentative deals which cover a trio of Boeing 787-9s and six De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s.

Disclosing the 787-9 memorandum of understanding with Boeing at the Dubai air show, the African nation's minister of aviation Joseph Kofi Adda said the widebodies were earmarked for a new home-based carrier in which the government, holding a 10% golden shareholding, would participate alongside private investors.

Adda seeks to differentiate the planned new carrier from "national" or "state-owned" ones – such as Ghana International Airlines, which ceased operations a decade ago, or predecessor Ghana Airways. He stresses that the government's role will be to "kick-start" the new carrier and then take a back-seat role, leaving strategic decisions to the board.

The aim is to establish Ghana as an aviation hub for West Africa. Adda highlights plans for three additional international airports in the country, to join the one in capital Accra.

He is hopeful that the new airline can begin operations in the first quarter of 2020, focusing on domestic operations initially and then on regional West Africa flying.

With the caveat that route planning will be up to airline management, Adda indicates that the network could ultimately span destinations in Europe, North America and Asia.

Adda expects the airline's name to be specified within weeks, and indicates only that it will include the word Ghana.

He says a partnership with Ghanaian private operator Africa World Airlines is possible, subject to negotiations, and that a memorandum of understanding he signed last year with Ethiopian Airlines – under which the Star Alliance member would help develop the new carrier – is "still on the table".

Earlier on day three of the Dubai air show, De Havilland Canada and the Ghanaian government had announced a letter of intent covering six Dash 8-400 turboprops.

Adda, who sees a role for regional airports in promoting Ghanaian tourism, credits the Dash 8-400 with "the perfect mix of passenger amenities, cargo capacity, operational economics and environmental credentials".

De Havilland Canada's chief operating officer Todd Young asserts that the aircraft "continues to prove its capabilities across Africa's diverse landscape".

Noting the type's hot-and-high performance and its short take-off and landing capability, Young declares confidence that the Dash 8-400 will "meet the demands of Ghana's warm, dry coastal areas [and] its hotter, more humid regions, as well as any challenging airport operations".

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