South African Airways (SAA) has commenced its inaugural flight between Accra, Ghana and Washington DC in North America.
The new route substantially strengthens SAA’s presence in West Africa, and the first flight departed from the Kotoka International Airport in Accra at 22:45, Sunday, 2 August, following a celebratory send-off, to the Washington Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. On board were the Ghanaian Minister of Transportation, Honourable Dzifa Aku Attivo, as well as a contingent of high profile Ghanaian government officials; other guests, executives and media. Besides announcing the new Accra – Washington route, SAA announced it has concluded a Commercial Cooperation Agreement with Africa World Airlines (AWA), the Ghanaian domestic carrier which will offer customers further connections into West Africa. Adding flights between Accra and Washington to its route network is a significant achievement for the airline and a bold move which strengthens SAA’s position in West Africa. With Accra – Washington added to its extensive African route network serving 24 countries on the continent, SAA now offers customers the option of a second West African country linking air travel to North America. “Introducing more travel options on the African continent is a major development and achievement for the airline as part of our Long-Term Turnaround Strategy, which sets growth on the African continent as one of our key objectives. “Besides celebrating the inaugural flight between Accra and Washington, SAA has also concluded a Commercial Cooperation Agreement with Africa World Airlines (AWA) which is off a long-term strategic nature, offering customers more travel options within the West African region. “SAA’s decision to route some of its North American bound flights to Ghana, is based on sound business principles as there is considerable demand for passengers wanting to fly between Ghana to the U.S.A. We anticipate that this route will add considerable opportunities for the growth of tourism and trade relations between Ghana and the United States of America,” says Mr Kendy Phohleli, SAA Executive Africa Hub Projects. “True to our promise of improving connectivity on the continent, the agreement with Africa World Airlines will offer SAA customers from Washington and Johannesburg seamless connectivity via Accra to other destinations in Ghana such as Kumasi, Takoradi, and Tamale as well as to Lagos, Nigeria. Forming a local partnership with a domestic airline was part of our plans of strengthening SAA’s presence in West Africa,” says Phohleli. “South African Airways is recognised as a strong regional player by one of the biggest alliance leaders in the global aviation industry, Star Alliance, and we are glad to become their partner in Ghana and offer our passengers access to destinations worldwide through the network of South African Airways,” said Mr Michael Cheng Luo, AWA Chief Executive Officer. “The codeshare agreement provides AWA with tremendous opportunities to grow our prowess with routes on the West African network as well as aiming to become the much needed feeder and de-feeder link that taps into a very significant US market for all customer types. “Africa World Airlines has made significant progress in recent years. From a small domestic airline, it has become an important regional player. I can only support the view of our SAA colleagues that the time has come for AWA to start linking up with a major airline player. We are pleased and proud to partner with them as the preferred choice of a Ghanaian carrier,” said Mr. Apiigy Afenu, Chief Operations Officer.