Ghana signs deal with Ethiopia to create a new national carrier

The government of Ghana has signed a final agreement with Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, to set up a new national carrier in Ghana. This comes about six months after both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

According to sources close to the developments who spoke to the B&FT newspaper, the final agreement was signed last month and will see the Ghanaian state owning a 51 percent stake in the new airline with Ethiopian owning the remaining 49 percent stake. However, the government has indicated that its overall plan is to transfer an unspecified tranche to local Ghanaian entities.

“A number of them have expressed interest and the Ministry of Aviation is still speaking with some of the insurance companies and banks who have expressed interest,” Simon Allotey, Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) later told the B&FT. “But initially, what might happen is that the government’s initial shareholding might go beyond 10%. It will hold the shares for the potential Ghanaian investors because we can’t wait for all of them to come on-board before the airline starts.”

It would be recalled that following the end of Ghana Airways and Ghana International Airlines in 2004 the country has since not been able to have its own airline. However, in 2016, the government of Ghana invited international airlines who are interested in forging a strategic partnership to establish a home-based national carrier in Accra. Ethiopian Airlines, Air Mauritius and indigenous carrier Africa World Air indicated their interest to the Ghanaian Ministry of Transport. Having evaluated the proposal, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Aviation and Ghana Airports selected Ethiopian Airlines as the preferred airline for partnership.

Ethiopian Airline seems to be making its footprint known in the region. It is already a shareholder in Togo-based ASKY Airlines (KP, Lomé) and is a shareholder in the Guinea Airlines (Conakry) project. It is also a shareholder in  Zambia Airways.