Africa World Airlines
Africa World Airlines Logo.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
AW AFW BLACKSTAR
Founded2010; 12 years ago (2010)
Commenced operations21 September 2012
AOC #030
HubsKotoka International Airport
Fleet size5
Destinations6
Parent companyHNA Group
HeadquartersAccra, Greater Accra, Ghana
Key peopleTogbe Afede XIV (Founder),[1] Zhou Yingli (CEO)[2]
Employees381 (2020)[3]
Websiteflyafricaworld.com

Africa World Airlines Limited (AWA) is a Ghanaian airline company that was incorporated in 2010 and commenced flights in 2012. It has its head office in Airport City Accra,[4] and its main hub at Kotoka International Airport in Accra.[3]

It is the largest airline in Ghana with over 600,000 passengers booked in 2021,[3] accounting for 65% of domestic passengers and 30% of all air passengers in the country.[5][6][7] The airline has been consistently profitable since 2014.[8][9]

AWA is a joint venture between Ghanaian shareholders SAS Finance Group and SSNIT, with minority shareholdings also by both HNA Group and China-Africa Development Fund via Zhongjia Investments of China.[10][11][12]

History

Startup

Presentation of AOC to Africa World Airlines on 21 September 2012
Presentation of AOC to Africa World Airlines on 21 September 2012

AWA was born as the brainchild of noted Ghanaian investment banker and traditional leader Togbe Afede XIV.[13] The airline received its Air Carrier License from Ghana Civil Aviation Authority on 4 March 2011.[14] After securing funding and partnership for the project, the initial management team led by CEO Zhang Jiuhua and COO Sean Mendis proceeded with the technical certification of the airline.[15][16][17] AWA took delivery of its first Embraer 145 aircraft in August 2012, immediately followed by a second aircraft in September 2012.[18][1] It received its Air Operator Certificate on 21 September 2012 and commenced flight operations that same day with daily services between Accra and Kumasi.[13] Flights to Tamale commenced later that year. By 2013, Zhang had been replaced by Michael Cheng Luo as CEO,[19] and Mendis was replaced as COO by Apiigy Afenu.[17] A third Embraer 145 was delivered in November 2013 as the airline increased frequencies on the domestic routes.[20]

Consolidation

In December 2013, AWA launched its first international route connecting Accra with Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos.[21] Services to its fourth domestic destination of Takoradi commenced in May 2015.[22] Plans for expansion of regional routes were temporarily put on hold due to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa,[23][24] but the airline nonetheless recorded its first annual profits in 2014.[8] The airline continued to expand its domestic market share during this period,[25] and focussed on training Ghanaian staff in technical roles such as pilots and engineers to reduce dependence on expatriates.[26] In May 2015, AWA successfully completed its first IOSA audit, making it only the second airline in Ghana to achieve this international safety standard.[27] In October 2015, Samuel Thompson took over from Apiigy Afenu as COO.[28]

Expansion

Africa World Airlines inaugural flight to Abidjan on 14 February 2020
Africa World Airlines inaugural flight to Abidjan on 14 February 2020

AWA began the next phase of its expansion in December 2016, with the delivery of its fourth Embraer 145 aircraft.[20] In 2017, John Xiaoyi Quan, former Managing Director of Air Guilin in China, took over as CEO.[29] Two additional aircraft were also delivered in 2017 taking the fleet up to six.[20] New services to Abuja[30] and Monrovia[31] were launched. AWA became a full member of IATA in 2017,[32] following the completion of its second IOSA audit. The airline is the only IATA member airline in Ghana.[33] In 2018, Sean Mendis returned as COO after 6 years away.[17] The airline launched flights to Freetown in 2018,[34] Wa in 2019,[35] and Abidjan in 2020.[36] Michael Cheng Luo also returned as CEO in 2019 [19][37] and the airline took delivery of its seventh and eight aircraft in 2018 and 2019 respectively.[20] The airline was the largest international carrier operating to Nigeria by 2019 with 200 monthly frequencies to both Lagos and Abuja.[17] [38] AWA consolidated its position as the premier airline in Anglophone West Africa with its dominance of the Nigerian regional travel market, and its numerous partnerships with international airlines.[39][17]

COVID-19 pandemic

AWA temporarily suspended passenger operations on 30 March 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19 in Ghana.[40] Domestic passenger operations resumed on 1 May 2020 under enhanced sanitary protocols, including disinfection of the aircraft after each flight. [41][42] The airline continued to operate humanitarian flights to repatriate Ghanaians stranded abroad during the period of closed borders,[43] and began a phased resumption of international flights from September 2020.[44] Domestic traffic had recovered to 2019 levels by the end of 2020.[45][46] AWA received the second highest score among all African airlines for their COVID-19 safety protocols as assessed by independent watchdog Safe Travel Barometer.[47] In 2021, AWA once again booked over 600,000 passengers, thus almost matching the record traffic levels seen in 2019.[6]

Post COVID Challenges

AWA failed to restart flights to Wa after the COVID-19 related disruptions, citing safety concerns at the airport.[48] The airline saw significant staff turnover and changes during the period immediately following the pandemic, with both COO Mendis and CEO Luo exiting the company for the second time at the expiry of their contracts in 2020 and 2022 respectively, and Yingli Zhou taking over as the new Chief Executive.[49][2] The airline faced significant operational issues that led to the grounding of three aircraft and forced them to suspend flights to Abidjan, Freetown and Monrovia. Increased competition from Passion Air also led to an erosion of AWA's previously dominant domestic market share during 2022. [50] Zhou has cited a need to refocus operations away from lower yielding international routes as one of his priorities.[2]

Fleet

Africa World Airlines ERJ-145s parked at Accra.
Africa World Airlines ERJ-145s parked at Accra.

Current fleet

The Africa World Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of September 2022):[51][20][50][52]

Africa World Airlines fleet
Aircraft In Service Passengers Notes
B E Total
Embraer ERJ-145LR 4 0 50 50 [53]
Total
4

Fleet development

Africa World Airlines took delivery on 30 August 2012 of its first Embraer 145 aircraft that was used to operate domestic routes.[54] A second aircraft was delivered on 8 September 2012.[1] The airline added a third aircraft in 2013 and a further five aircraft between 2016 and 2019. All these aircraft were previously operated by Tianjin Airlines which is a sister company within the HNA Group.[55] AWA was the largest operator of the Embraer 145 type in the Middle East and Africa region, but operational constraints have left the fleet with only 4 airworthy aircraft as of September 2022.[56][52]

Future plans

Africa World Airlines stated that it intended to introduce two additional ERJ-145s in 2021,[36] as well as a larger capacity aircraft type at the appropriate time to expand its regional routes.[57][58] In 2019, a three-way MoU was signed between COMAC, CAD Fund and AWA to promote the launch of the ARJ-21 aircraft in the African market, although no specific timeline was given for the introduction of this type.[59]

Destinations

An Africa World Airlines ERJ-145LR at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja
An Africa World Airlines ERJ-145LR at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja

Africa World Airlines operated the following scheduled services as of August 2022.[60][61]

Country City Airport Notes Refs
Ghana Accra Kotoka International Airport Hub
Kumasi Kumasi Airport
Takoradi Takoradi Airport [22]
Tamale Tamale Airport
Nigeria Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport [30]
Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport [21]

On 15 April 2021, Africa World Airlines conducted the first ever test flight by a jet aircraft to Ho Airport in the Volta Region of Ghana. The airline stated that they intended to commence scheduled services between Ho and Accra shortly thereafter.[62] However, in March 2022, AWA confirmed that it had decided not to launch flights on this route due to operational challenges.[63]

In August 2022, AWA made the decision to suspend all flights to Freetown and Monrovia due to operational constraints. Coming on the heels of the cancellation of Abidjan services, it left AWA serving only destinations in Ghana and Nigeria as of September 2022. [50][52]

Statistics

As a privately owned carrier, AWA does not make financial data available to the public. However, traffic statistics are published by the airline as well as Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and Ghana Airports Company Limited.[3][7][5] Other figures have been made available via press reports, interviews and other publications.[8][9][20][64][6]

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Profitability loss loss profit profit profit profit profit profit
Number of employees 276 381
Number of passengers 85,850 149,940 184,800 251,289 418,889 467,438 601,930 335,989 600,196
Passenger load factor (%) 74.8% 75.2% 77.1% 76.7% 76.4% 86.8%
Number of aircraft (at year end) 2 3 3 3 5 6 7 8 8 8

Partnerships

Signing of the partnership agreement between AWA and Brussels Airlines in 2019
Signing of the partnership agreement between AWA and Brussels Airlines in 2019

Africa World Airlines has interline agreements with the following airlines:[65]

Agreements

In 2019, AWA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South African Airways to jointly pursue opportunities in West Africa, including a system-wide codeshare agreement and other commercial partnerships.[66] The codeshare went into effect in October 2019.[67]

The airline also announced an interline partnership with Emirates to provide domestic and regional feed to their flights at Kotoka International Airport in Accra.[68]

AWA also signed a tripartite partnership with Ethiopian Airlines and ASKY to offer seamless travel within the West African region.[69]

In October 2019, AWA and Brussels Airlines concluded an interline partnership to connect passengers through their joint networks.[70][71]

AWA and Air Burkina announced in January 2020 that they had concluded a partnership for passengers to connect from Ouagadougou through Accra to Lagos, Abuja and Abidjan.[72]

Africa World Airlines and Cabo Verde Airlines also announced a partnership effective from February 2020 to improve connectivity in West Africa between their respective networks.[73][74]

In May 2022, AWA and Kenya Airways announced an expansion of their partnership to enhance West African connectivity between the two airlines over AWA's hub at Kotoka International Airport in Accra.[75]

Awards and recognition

The AWA team receives the award as "Best Airline in West Africa" for 2019
The AWA team receives the award as "Best Airline in West Africa" for 2019

Africa World Airlines has been recognised as "Domestic Airline of the Year" in Ghana every year consecutively since 2015. In September 2019, the airline was inducted into the CIMG Hall of Fame after being voted the winner in the "Domestic Airline of the Year" category for five consecutive years.[76]

Africa World Airlines was also recognised as "Best Airline in West Africa" for 2019 by the Balafon Travel Awards being held during the Accra Weizo 2019 travel conference and exhibition.[77]

In April 2019, AWA was recognised by Embraer for providing the highest quality standard of fleet reliability data among all Embraer 145 operators worldwide.[78]

In October 2019, Africa World Airlines received the 2019 AviaTour award for "Best Passenger Experience".[79]

In December 2019, the prestigious Routes Africa Awards honored the airline with the Airline Excellence Award for "Innovation and Capacity Growth" in recognition for AWA's steady growth and creative marketing.[80]

AWA also received recognition and commendation from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and President Jair Bolsonaro in July 2020, for assisting with the repatriation of Brazilian citizens from 7 countries in West Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.[81] [82]

Africa World Airlines was the recipient of the Tower Award for "Best African Airline Connectivity (Regional)" at the Aviators Africa conference in October 2021. [83]

In February 2022, AWA was recognised as the Best International Carrier in Nigeria for 2021 by the organisers of the Abuja Jabamah Travel Awards.[84]

Incidents

References

  1. ^ a b c "Togbe Afede's Airline Takes Delivery of Second Aircraft". Ghanaweb.com. 11 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Introducing Our New CEO". FLYAfrica. Accra, Ghana: Land & Marine Publications. August 2022. p. 18-19. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "About Africa World Airlines". Africa World Airlines. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Contact Us". Africa World Airlines. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Traffic Statistics". Ghana Airports Company Limited. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Maclean Kwofi (31 March 2022). "Domestic Air Travels Surge". Daily Graphic.
  7. ^ a b "Aviation Statistics - GCAA". Ghana Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "HNA's Africa World Airlines helps the Ghanaian government". PR Newswire. 8 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b James Pearson (5 November 2019). "Africa World Airlines will be West Africa's leading carrier". Anna.aero.
  10. ^ Katie Cantle; Rob Finlayson (25 July 2012). "Hainan Airlines, Africa World Airlines launch JV". Aviation Week.
  11. ^ "HNA Group and Africa World Airlines sign Joint Venture Agreement". Bravia Capital. Archived from the original on 18 November 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Africa World Airlines - World Airline News". World Airline News. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Ghana gets new airline". The Africa Report. 25 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Post by Africa World Airlines Limited". LinkedIn. Africa World Airlines. 4 March 2021. On 4th March 2011, Africa World Airlines was awarded our Air Carrier License by Ghana Civil Aviation Authority
  15. ^ Drew Hinshaw (29 December 2011). "West African Skies beckon new carriers". Wall Street Journal.
  16. ^ "HNA Group invests in Africa World Airlines". CAPA Centre for Aviation. 23 July 2012.
  17. ^ a b c d e Victoria Moores (7 September 2020). "Mendis confident in post-virus world". African Aerospace Magazine.
  18. ^ "AWA to receive first aircraft on August 30". Africa Business Communities. 29 August 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Africa World Airlines re-appoints Michael Cheng Luo as CEO". CAPA Centre for Aviation. 19 September 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Africa World Airlines Fleet". AirFleets.net. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  21. ^ a b "AWA flies to Lagos twice daily". LIV News. 10 December 2013.
  22. ^ a b "AWA to start flights to Takoradi". Ghana Business News. 19 April 2015.
  23. ^ Sumit Singh (26 November 2020). "How Ebola Meant Africa World Airlines Was Ready For COVID-19". Simple Flying.
  24. ^ Christin Roby (12 September 2014). "Airlines Cut West Africa Flights". Voice Of America.
  25. ^ "Ghana growth curbed by cutbacks". anna.aero. 18 July 2018.
  26. ^ "Africa World Airlines - Local, Reliable Talent". Business Focus Magazine. 12 February 2020.
  27. ^ Joy Ogbebo (11 April 2016). "Africa World Airlines Secures IOSA Certification". MamaJ's Aviation Blog.
  28. ^ Norvan Acquah -Hayford (28 September 2015). "Apiigy Afenu resigns". Citi News.
  29. ^ "Meet the AWA CEO". Facebook. Africa World Airlines. 19 June 2017. Mr Quan John Xiaoyi has 16 years of Airline Experience having held various positions within Hainan Airlines in China and its conglomerate. His last post was MD of Air Guilin.
  30. ^ a b "Africa World Airlines begin Accra-Abuja daily flights". StarFM. 27 June 2017.
  31. ^ Sam Edem (24 November 2017). "AWA to launch flight to Monrovia". Prime News Ghana.
  32. ^ "IATA presents certificate to Africa World Airlines". Ghana News Agency. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  33. ^ @FlyAfricaWorld (14 December 2018). "A team from IATA visited Africa World Airlines..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  34. ^ Chidozie Uzoezie (22 May 2018). "Ghana's AWA begins flights to Freetown". The AfriTraveller.
  35. ^ "AWA first to serve Wa". ch-aviation. 6 September 2019.
  36. ^ a b Kojo Bentum Williams (15 February 2020). "AWA continues expansion with inaugural Abidjan flight". Voyages Afriq.
  37. ^ "Making Ghana Proud". FLYAfrica. Accra, Ghana: Land & Marine Publications. August 2019. p. 2. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  38. ^ "Africa World Airlines increases Abuja frequencies". RoutesOnline.com. Informa Markets. 21 May 2019.
  39. ^ Chinedu Eze (29 January 2021). "Nigeria loses West African air travel market to Ghanaian carrier". This Day (Nigeria).
  40. ^ Elizabeth Sasu (28 March 2020). "AWA to suspend all flights by Monday". GH-Aviation.
  41. ^ Joanna Bailey (16 July 2020). "How Africa World Airlines Is Making The Most Of COVID". Simple Flying.
  42. ^ @FlyAfricaWorld (19 April 2020). "Africa World Airlines is pleased to announce the resumption of limited domestic scheduled flight service..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  43. ^ "Africa World Airlines - Bringing Ghanaians Home". Africa World Airlines. April 2020.
  44. ^ Chidozie Uzoezie (8 September 2020). "AWA to resume international operations". The AfriTraveller.
  45. ^ Sumit Singh (27 November 2020). "Why African Aviation will recover faster". Simple Flying.
  46. ^ Victoria Moores (25 November 2020). "ANALYSIS: For Most African Carriers, Next Year Will Be Precarious". Aviation Week.
  47. ^ "Africa World scores second highest in Africa for Safe travel". Africa World Airlines. November 2020.
  48. ^ "Wa route to be back after safety concerns fixed". Ghanaweb.com. 22 April 2021.
  49. ^ Ikechi Uko, ed. (19 October 2020). "Sean Mendis leaves Africa World Airlines AWA after the end of contract". African Travel Quarterly (ATQ).
  50. ^ a b c Dominick Andoh (12 August 2022). "Africa World Airlines To Suspend Monrovia, Freetown Operations". Aviation Ghana.
  51. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World. October 2019: 15.
  52. ^ a b c Dominick Andoh (31 August 2022). "AWA suspends West Coast Operations". Aviation Ghana.
  53. ^ "Africa World Airlines on ch-aviation". ch-aviation. Retrieved 16 August 2022.
  54. ^ "Africa World Airlines First Aircraft Lands". Infrastructure News. 3 September 2012.
  55. ^ "Africa World Airlines Finalizing Launch Plans for ERJ-145". ch-Aviation. 27 July 2012.
  56. ^ "Embraer ERJ-145 Operator List". PlaneSpotters.net. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  57. ^ Thomas Jaeger (16 November 2019). "Africa World Airlines builds fortress Accra". ch-Aviation.
  58. ^ Togbe Afede XIV (17 February 2020). The Market Place on JoyNews (17-2-20) (Television production). Ghana: JoyNews – via YouTube.
  59. ^ "COMAC signs MOU on Jointly Promoting China-Africa Regional Aviation Cooperation with CADFund and Africa World Airlines". COMAC. 10 September 2019.
  60. ^ "Destinations - Africa World Airlines". Africa World Airlines. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  61. ^ "Route Map - Africa World Airlines". Africa World Airlines. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  62. ^ "Africa World Airlines conducts test flight at Ho Airport ahead of Ho-Accra service launch". CAPA Center for Aviation. 16 April 2021.
  63. ^ Maclean Kwofi (5 April 2022). "Airlines ghost Ho airport". Daily Graphic.
  64. ^ "LinkedIn : Africa World Airlines Limited". LinkedIn. Africa World Airlines. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  65. ^ "Connection Partners - Africa World Airlines". Africa World Airlines. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  66. ^ "South African Airways Increases West African Connectivity". Sawubona. Johannesburg, South Africa: Mikateko Media. April 2019. p. 102. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  67. ^ "Africa World Airlines and South African Airways Unveil New Codeshare Agreement". Aviation Tribune. 31 October 2019.
  68. ^ Nour Salman (16 April 2019). "Interline agreement between Emirates Airline, Africa World Airlines". WAM - The Emirates News Agency.
  69. ^ Kojo Bentum Williams (17 August 2019). "AWA, ASKY, Ethiopian Airlines partner to bring seamless travel to Ghanaians". Voyages Afriq.
  70. ^ Kojo Bentum Williams (8 October 2019). "Africa World and Brussels Airlines interline to provide seamless travel for passengers". Voyages Afriq.
  71. ^ Jeanette Briedenhann (21 October 2019). "AWA partners with Brussels Airlines". Inside Travel.
  72. ^ Romuald Ngueyap (13 January 2020). "AWA inks interline partnership with Air Burkina to improve connectivity in West Africa". Ecofin Agency.
  73. ^ "Cabo Verde Airlines and Africa World Airlines improve air connections in West Africa". World Air News. 30 January 2020.
  74. ^ Prof. Wolfgang Thome (5 February 2020). "Africa World Airlines, Cabo Verde Airlines partner to grow connectivity in West Africa". ATC News.
  75. ^ "Africa World Airlines partners with Kenya Airways". Logistics Update Africa. 6 May 2022.
  76. ^ Patricia Ama Bonsu (4 October 2019). "Africa World Airlines Inducted into CIMG Hall of Fame". Modern Ghana.
  77. ^ "Africa World Airlines Wins Award". Holiday Guide Magazine. 7 October 2019.
  78. ^ Ronald Donner (26 June 2019). "Aviation on the World's Second Largest Continent Remains Challenging". Aviation Pros.
  79. ^ Ikechi Uko, ed. (4 October 2019). "Aviation: Africa World Airlines Bags Best Passenger Experience Award". African Travel Quarterly (ATQ).
  80. ^ "Cape Town Air Access named the Overall Winner for second year runningin the Routes Africa 2019 Awards". Modern Ghana. 10 December 2019.
  81. ^ "Africa World ERJ145s Repatriate Brazilians". Embraer Commercial Aviation. 24 July 2020.
  82. ^ @jairbolsonaro (23 July 2020). "Bom trabalho Ministro @ernestofaraujo e equipe!" (Tweet) (in Brazilian Portuguese) – via Twitter.
  83. ^ Toni Ukachukwu, ed. (27 October 2021). "Aviators Africa - Tower Awards - Winners". Aviators Africa.
  84. ^ "Travellers Award Unveils Africa World Airline As The Best International Airline In Nigeria". African Travel Quarterly (ATQ). 1 February 2022.
  85. ^ "AWA Pilot says robbery happens only in Lagos". Sahara Reporters. 25 February 2018.
  86. ^ Ben Schlappig (19 February 2018). "I have so many questions about this Lagos airport robbery". One Mile At A Time.
  87. ^ "Ghanaian pilot unleashes hot gas on Nigerian thieves in aircraft robbery attempt". Ghanaweb.com. 15 February 2018.