Africa World Airlines (AWA) today began commercial flight to the Wa Airport, making it the first commercial airline operator to do so since the airport was given clearance by IATA to commence operations.
The flight which began at the Kotoka International Airport transited through the Tamale Airport touching down at exactly 12:23pm at the Wa Airport with 50 passengers on board. After the ritual water baptism of the aircraft, passengers were welcomed to a durbar of chiefs, government officials and the people of Wa.
Addressing the gathering, the Paramount Chief of Wa who chaired the function, Naa Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo IV said, he was happy about the commencement of the flight as it will reduce travelling time to the region drastically. “It will also open up the region for more commercial activities including tourism. Furthermore, we anticipate our neighbours from Burkina Faso will patronize the service, he added.”
Affirming Naa Pelpuo’s points the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih said the inauguration of commercial flight operations to the Wa Airport “will go a long way to expand and strengthen the existing relationship between our region and our neighbouring countries.”
He said with role aviation plays in the growth of tourism, commercial flight activities will increase visitations to the many tourist attractions in the region to better the livelihoods of the people there.
“Aviation provides the only rapid worldwide transportation network, which makes it essential for global business. It generates economic growth, creates jobs and facilitates international trade and tourism. Tourism is an industry that relies heavily on aviation. By facilitating tourism, air transport helps generate economic growth and alleviates poverty,” he stated.
Head of Commercial for AWA, Richard Kyereh said the airline will continue to ensure that passengers flying to the region will enjoy the best of services through the provision of safe and secure flights.
“We want to assure the people of Wa that we will continue to serve them with a safe and reliable air transport services within this region.” He added that the AWA will operate regular flights to Wa once patronage increases.
Deputy Minister of Aviation, Yaw Afful postulated that “the success of the commercial flight operations we are starting today will depend also on our joint collaboration, support and cooperation from the chiefs of the Upper West Region.” The Minister commended the airline for taking the bold step to begin operations to the area.
He entreated the travelling public to also show commitment to the airline by patronising its services to make the Wa route commercially viable and attractive for others to join the trail begun by AWA.
He averred that government is committed to its vision of making Ghana West Africa’s aviation hub, therefore would spare no efforts in continuously improving infrastructure that will help grow the industry.
Much to the delight of those at the welcome durbar was the fact that the pilot who made the historic flight; Victor Pul is an indigene of Upper West.
In brief remarks, Pul said he felt great for being given the opportunity to do the maiden flight to Wa and hopes it will inspire people especially, the youth to go into aviation and promote it.
Africa World Airlines will fly three times weekly; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, to Wa. The new route brings to nine, the total being serviced by the airline across Ghana and West Africa.
By: Samuel Obeng Appah