German airline Lufthansa (LH) is to cease commercial passenger operations in the country from October, as sister-airline Brussels make a re-entry into the market.
The German carrier will operate its last flight out of Ghana on October 24, with Brussels scheduled to commence operations on October 26, 2015 after it exited the Ghanaian market several years ago.
The decision to suspend LH’s operations and allow its sister company Brussels to operate in the market follows a meeting of the Board of Directors of the company that decided on the way forward.
The significant presence of Brussels Airlines in Francophone West Africa -- with operations in Banjul, Cotonou, Abidjan, Conakry, Dakar, Lomé, Monrovia and Ouagadougou -- is believed to have informed the decision to make a re-entry into Ghana.
Lufthansa is part of the passenger airline group segment of the Lufthansa Group, which comprises SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Germanwings. The company also has equity stake in Brussels Airlines, SunExpress and JetBlue.
Kevin Markette, Country Manager of Lufthansa, said the airline is suspending its operations in Ghana but will keep its Nigerian operations intact. “We will operate our last flight on October 24 and Brussels will start operations on October 26 to ensure continuity.”
Though the current Country Manager is set to be reassigned, job-losses are not to be expected as Brussels is expected to work with the Lufthansa team on the ground.
Brussels is also moving out of Kenya, with Lufthansa taking over operations in the East African country.
Lufthansa, which has been operating in the country for close to five decades, has in recent years been increasing capacity on the Accra-Frankfurt route with onward connection to hundreds of destinations in Europe, North America and Asia.
There are currently 37 airlines servicing the Kotoka International Airport. Transit passengers and cargo throughput for the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) increased last year; transit passengers increased from 162,000 in 2013 to 178,000 in 2014, representing an increase of some 9.5 percent.
Cargo throughput also increased, by 24.5 percent from 44,000 tonnes in 2013 to 54,000 tonnes in 2014. The increase in transit passenger throughput has been attributed to the growing presence of regional and international airlines in Ghana, and the choice of consumers to use the KIA for on-ward connections to mainly Europe, the Gulf and Asia due to the country’s good safety record.
Growing transit passenger throughput is positive for revenue generation as airlines pay navigation charges and various taxes. Air navigation charges for all international flights over four tonnes operating within the Accra Flight Information Region (FIR) -- comprising Ghana, Togo and Benin -- as at 2010 were charged US$0.75 per kilometre flown.
The minimum charge within the Accra FIR is US$200 and the maximum US$600. Aircraft that weigh between 4-20 tonnes are charged a US$200 flat rate.
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