South African Airways (SAA) will partner with Ghana’s Africa World Airlines, a fast-growing regional airline headquartered in Accra, Ghana to increase traffic on its successful Washington route.
The Johannesburg-Accra-Washington route is by far the most lucrative of SAA’s international routes. Through the new agreement, the airline believes it can build Accra’s brand-new airport into a lucrative hub in West Africa.
The company noted that the partnership with Africa World Airlines, which also flies to Lagos in Nigeria, Freetown in Sierra Leone and Monrovia in Liberia, will allow increasingly seamless transfers to North America and the rest of SAA’s international destinations.
SAA’s CEO Vuyani Jarana said the cash-strapped company, which recently received 3.5 billion rand in bank funding that will allow it to continue operating until June, is looking for new partnerships to grow its passenger base on the continent and abroad, as it tries to turn its finances around. The company will also add another weekly flight to Accra in April.
Jarana said a previous attempt to develop Accra into a West African hub for South African Airways was unsuccessful, but business-friendly policies that boost the aviation sector, as well as the new airport and related infrastructure have made it the most attractive option in the region.
South African Airways and Africa World Airlines, which already work closely together on a number fronts, aim to have a codeshare agreement in place soon. The airlines also see opportunities to save costs through collective purchasing of fuel and catering services in Ghana.