By Dominick Andoh

Africa World Airlines (AWA) is to commence regional flights to four Nigerian destinations in October this year, an official of the airline has said.

The airline has been granted permission by Nigeria?s Civil Aviation Authority to operate flights from Accra to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kanu, making it the first home-grown carrier to acquire the rights to fly to four major cities in the oil-rich country.

Mr. Apiigy Afenu, the Chief Operating Officer of the airline, told the B&FT that the airline has also being granted permission to fly to neighbouring Sierra Leone. ?The airline is tentatively looking to commence its Accra-Lagos-Accra flight on October 2, 2013, the independence day of Nigeria,? he said.

He was speaking to the B&FT on-board AWA?s maiden morning flight to the Northern Regional capital, Tamale.

AWA?s morning flights to Tamale will be operated on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The flights are scheduled to depart Accra at 7:00am and return from Tamale at 8:30am
The airline is offering an introductory fare of GH?100 one-way (tax inclusive) on its morning flight from Accra to Tamale.

AWA currently operates daily afternoon flights between Accra and Tamale and it is expected that the introduction of its morning flights will afford passengers more air travel options between the two cities.

Mr. Afenu said: ?In terms of our operations, we monitor the routes very carefully and once we record load factors above 70 — that is for our aircraft if we consistently carry more than 35 passengers over a period of time — then we realise that there is a demand for additional service. Tamale has been very good to us.

Most times we carry above 40 passengers [on the afternoon flight], so we thought that the logical thing is to introduce a second flight because demand has been high.

?We thrive on competition. Safety, reliability, and service are the three key things that passengers look out for. For safety, our pilots are trained to the highest standard. We have a Quick Access Recorder (QAR), a quality flight monitoring programme installed on our aircraft to monitor the performance of our pilots. The standards are set so high that even when there are minute violations we call them to task. In terms of safety, our airline is second to none,? he said.

Mr. Ridwane Adamou, the acting Head of Commercial of the airline, said: ?Essentially, we introduced the morning flights because of the demand from the public. We carried out a survey of our passengers in May and June and then decided to introduce the morning flights to give flexibility and more travel option to the public.?

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