LONDON – EGYPTAIR (MS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the State of Ghana to establish a brand new airline in the country. The MoU was signed by the Minister of Civil Aviation of Ghana Joseph Kofi Ada as well as the MS Chairman Deputy Hassan Mounir at an event in Cairo, Egypt.
Commenting on the news was Amr Abu El-Enein, the Chairman and CEO of EGYPTAIR stating that this would be a successful opportunity.
“We are pleased with the confidence of the Ghanaian government in choosing and preferring EGYPTAIR among the major European, Asian and African airlines for this strategic partnership in establishing a new airline [that] operates from its headquarter in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, and its network of lines extends throughout Africa, connecting it with countries of North and South America.”
Is This A Surprise?
On the political front, the relationship between the two countries has been strong in cooperation over the last few years.
This is not the first time that such an agreement has been made, with the Maintenance and Engineering side of EGYPTAIR signing a contract with the Ghanaian Civil Aviation Ministry to provide technical services for all airlines operating from Accra (ACC).
With Africa being a focus for states around the world politically in terms of state investment, this is evidently Egypt’s attempt at acquiring a portion of that potentially fruitful stake.
A political example of this overseas has been China pledging to invest over US$150bn into the continent over the next 20-30 years.
Any Details About The Airline?
At this moment in time, there are no details surrounding the name of the airline, nor its Air Operator’s Certificate. What we know now is that MS was selected as the preferred partner for such an establishment and is scrapping a deal made with Ethiopian Airlines (ET) made back in 2018.
The initial deal with ET was for the Ghanaian Government to receive 10% of shares in the new airline with others heading over to private investors. It is unclear however what the details of the new deal with MS will be or whether it will be similar to that in ET.
Acquisitions The Way Forward?
In the Middle East and Africa, airline consolidation through acquisitions appears to be quite the driving force in recent months, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, back in August, ET was eyeing a partnership with South African Airways (SA), following SA’s recent financial turmoil caused by a mix of COVID-turbulence and political conflict. This also comes following SA’s decision to suspend operations until further funding of the carrier can be found.
With Ghana siding now with EGYPTAIR over the state-run airline, it could now mean that ET may apply more bargaining chips onto the table with the South African Government to try and take more of a market share in that area of the continent.
The next steps for Ghana are now to establish the airline in name and via Air Operator’s Certificate. With the backing of EGYPTAIR, we could maybe see this happen over the next few years.
This will put the start-up in potentially a good place to begin because by the time of potential launch, the COVID-19 pandemic should be on the end and the industry should be edging closer to a recovery target of 2024.
It will be interesting to see what sort of destinations the airline will serve, and if internationally, whether it will go into competition with the likes of British Airways (BA) into London, especially with that market being particularly active.
Such news also shows that not all hope is lost for the aviation industry just yet, and what all airlines need to do now is to adapt in order to thrive through what is an unprecedented difficult period.
Featured Image: SU-GER, a EGYPTAIR Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons