Antrak Air suspends operations for 3 months

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Antrak Air has suspended its operations for the next three months

following challenges with its wet lease arrangement with Swift Air, a

Spanish airliner, for the use of the latter’s two ATR 72-500 turbo

prop aircraft, B&FT has gathered.

The suspension of Antrak’s flights from Accra to Kumasi, Takoradi and

Sunyani, and Tamale over the period is expected to push up domestic

air fares due to anticipated increase in demand that has to be

contained by the two other major local operators Starbow and Africa

World Airlines (AWA).

A wet lease is an arrangement whereby one airline provides an

aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another airline

that pays by hours operated. The lessee provides fueland covers

airport fees, and any other duties and taxes. The flight also uses the

flight number of the lessee.

The airline in a statement issued to travel operators and sighted by

the B&FT said it is notifying operators of “the suspension of our

operations for the next three (3) months, effective 10th June 2015″.

“During this period we will be looking at re­organisation, as it

concerns our business model. We have been compelled to strategically

suspend all operationsfrom the domestic market, with the aim

restructuring to meet the rapidly changing and competitive

environment.”We are in advanced talks to take delivery of our own

aircraft, which will give us more flexibility and less restrictive

scheduling. We will return with the most convenient schedules,

competitive fares and friendly service.”We would like to take this

opportunity to thank you for your continuous support, and we also look

forward to welcoming you on our flights in the near-future,” the

company said.

The latest setback in Antrak’s operations affirms challenges the

company has been going through in the aviation industry since it

launched into the Ghanaian airspace 12 years ago.

In 2013 the Founder and Chairmanof Antrak Group, Alhaji Asuma Banda,

told the B&FT that the company was contemplating pulling out of the

country’s airline business due to challenges in getting passengers –

despite a reported increase in domestic travel figures – a huge

infrastructure deficit, high cost of doing business, and regulatory

failure having made the domestic airline business unprofitable.

Antrak’s operational difficulties contrast with a widely-held view

that the aviation industry is one of the most booming industries in

the economy, attracting several airline operators into the country.

Latest figures obtained from airport authorities show a significant

growth in transit passengers and cargo throughput for the Kotoka

International Airport (KIA) for 2014, pointing to the growing

importance of Ghana as an aviation hub in the sub- region.

Started over a decade ago by Antrak, the four main domestic

destinations are now served by two active domestic operators – AWA and


Domestic passenger throughput has been growing by some 10 percent

year-on- year over the past decade. The Accra-Kumasi route is busiest,

followed closely by Tamale and Takoradi.Transit passengers increased

from 162,000 in 2013 to 178,000 in 2014, representing an increase of

some 9.5 percent. Cargo throughput also increased by 24.5 percent from

44,000 tonnes in 2013 to 54,000 tonnes in 2014.The increase in transit

passenger throughput has been attributed to the growing presence of

regional and international airlines in Ghana and the choice of

consumers to use the KIA for on-ward connections to mainly Europe, the

Gulf, and Asia due to the good safety record of the country – bar the

recent cargo aircraft accidents in recent times.

Growing transit passenger throughput is positive for revenue

generation, as airlines pay navigation charges and various

taxes.”Antrak Air wishes to apologise forall the inconvenience caused

by this suspension.We have made contingency arrangements to ensure

that all clients holding our tickets for future travel before

ourresumption date will be adequately taken care of by our personnel

at the airport,” the company assured in the statement.

Credit: B&FT

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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