By Adedapo Adesanya
United Airlines has relaunched its passenger flight operations from Washington, D.C. to Accra, the capital of Ghana, after a hiatus of about a decade.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Transport, Mr Kweku Ofori Asiamah, at a news conference held at the forecourt of the Kotoka International Airport.
He commended United Airlines for its decision to relaunch the Washington, D.C. route on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, expressing hopes that the operator would quickly commence daily flights.
United Airlines first came to Ghana on June 21, 2010, but left after a two-year operation in July 2012.
“We are thankful for the bold decision of United Airlines to return to the shores of Ghana at such a difficult time in the global aviation industry and for choosing Kotoka International Airport to once again promote closer ties between the two countries, given us a second direct entry point into the US,” the Minister said at the briefing.
He said even though the coronavirus had wreaked havoc on the aviation industry worldwide, the introduction of vaccines offered a shine of hope and Ghana was already on the road to recovery.
“We assure that government through the Transport Ministry will offer all stakeholders the needed support including the use of 5th freedom rights to expand routes to and from Accra to ensure the realisation of government’s vision of making Ghana a preferred aviation hub in West Africa,” he said.
He further guaranteed international passengers high-quality service anytime they chose Accra as their destination or transit port.
In a statement, the CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Mr Jack Potter, said “The National Capital Region is home to one of the largest populations of native Ghanaians in the United States, and we are honoured to welcome United Airlines’ new route from Dulles International to Accra, as we work together to forge an important new link between our two countries.”
“Today, Accra joins nearly 40 other nonstop international destinations currently served from Dulles International, offering our customers more global connectivity as demand for air travel continues to rise,” he added.
United’s Washington Dulles hub MD, Mr Eddie Gordon, while emphasising the significance of this new route, stated that, “Altogether, the service is a reminder of the pent-up demand that the International community has to hit the skies to visit their loved ones. Therefore, United is glad to see a rebound across the industry.”
Business Post reports that the Chicago-based carrier followed Delta Air Lines with its earlier arrival at Accra, from New York, the day before.
Several other international powerhouses also serve the city. For instance, Qatar Airways, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Air Cote d Ivoire, British Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Kenya Airways, TAP Air Portugal, and EgyptAir, all fly to the airport.
Accra is a strong hub in Africa. Along with Africa World Airlines’ presence at the airport, up to over three million passengers from across the globe pass through it.
Radisson Hotel Expands Hospitality Franchise to Djibouti
By Adedapo Adesanya
Leading hospitality franchise, Radisson Hotel Group, has announced the continuous African expansion of its outfit to Djibouti with the signing of Radisson Hotel Djibouti in partnership with Salaam Properties.
The hotel marks the group’s entry into the country and brings its East African portfolio to 18 hotels and over 2,700 rooms in operation and under development, strengthening its strategic position in the region.
This new signing further underscores the group’s presence as the hotel company is active in most countries on the African continent with close to 100 hotels in operation and under development.
The expected 144-room hotel, scheduled to open in 2024, will comprise not only modern standard rooms and suites, but will also have accessible rooms, designed for wheelchair access. Dining options will include light snacks at the lobby café, international and local cuisine at the all-day-dining restaurant, and refreshing drinks at the poolside juice bar.
Also boasting an expansive meetings and events area, the hotel will offer a variety of versatile venues, including a ballroom, five meeting rooms, a pre-function area, as well as break out areas. The leisure facilities will include a spa, gym, and an outdoor swimming pool.
The hotel noted that it is picking Djibouti because its strength lies in its strategic location at the southern entrance to the Red Sea, forming a bridge between Africa and the Middle East.
Just 15 minutes away from Djibouti International Airport, Radisson Hotel Djibouti will be located in the heart of the city, surrounded by key infrastructures such as the Djibouti Port, Djibouti Free Zone, international headquarters, shopping malls and the seaside, providing the ideal base for business and leisure.
Speaking on this, Mr Erwan Garnier, Senior Director, Development, Africa, Radisson Hotel Group said: “We are delighted to mark our entry into Djibouti with Radisson, currently our fastest-growing upscale brand in Africa.
“With its existing limited branded hotel supply, we are confident that Radisson Hotel Djibouti will be the country’s leading internationally branded hotel.
“Along with our partners, Salaam Properties, we are proud to be contributing to the Djibouti Vision 2035 strategy for economic diversification which relies strongly on the growth of the tourism industry.”
On her part, Ms Fatima Zahra, Manager, Salaam Properties, the hotel’s owning company, said: “We are thrilled to be contributing to the growth of the region’s upscale tourism industry, together with our partners, Radisson Hotel Group. We are confident that Radisson Hotel Djibouti will help boost the capital’s economy through hundreds of jobs created both directly and indirectly, a significant achievement, especially during these challenging times the world is witnessing.
“The hotel is another great milestone in Salaam Properties’ successful investments within Djibouti’s burgeoning tourism sector. The country truly is a leading regional tourism and economic hub with significant potential to be further explored.”
Djibouti is a key market in East Africa due to its port complex, considered one of the most sophisticated in the world at the intersection of major international shipping lanes connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Radisson Hotel Group added that its top priority is the continued health, safety and security of its guests, team members, and business partners.
The group applies its Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol created in collaboration with SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, and recently unveiled its new comprehensive testing program as the first hotel group to roll out a rapid testing service for meeting and event attendees at properties across its Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) portfolio.
Capital Hotels Demands N5.5bn from 11 Plc for 51% Stake
By Dipo Olowookere
One of the hospitality companies in Nigeria, Capital Hotels Plc, will soon become highly competitive in the industry if the proposed sale of its 51 per cent stake to an energy firm, 11 Plc, formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, goes through.
11 Plc is considering investing in the company and has held discussions with the board on this and Capital Hotels wants over N5 billion for this to happen.
On Monday, June 14, 2021, the board of the company held an emergency and it was agreed that the oil giant can acquire a 51 per cent stake in the organisation.
Checks by Business Post revealed that as at Friday, June 18, 2021, according to information harvested from the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Capital Hotels has shares outstanding of 1,548,780,000 units.
The total worth of the hospitality firm on the stock exchange was N3.7 billion at the close of business last Friday as its share price closed at N2.40 per unit.
But in order to achieve its goal of being one of the leaders in the sector, the board wants the new investor to pay N7.00 per share for about 789,877,800 units of the company’s equities, which represents 51 per cent of the total shares. This will mean that 11 Plc will have to cough out about N5.5 billion to acquire the controlling stake of the firm.
In a statement signed by its company secretary, Mr Alex Ugwuanyi, Capital Hotels, however, emphasised that this transaction would still have to be approved by shareholders of the company.
It was also stressed that 11 Plc will also still have to accept to pay N7.00 for each of the company’s stock, while the current core shareholder, Hans Gremlin Nigeria Limited, will also have to agree to let go of its 50 per cent stake.
According to the notice, the main reason for accepting to sell the 51 per cent stake of Capital Hotels to 11 Plc is to enable the company to “offer the right competition in the Abuja hospitality market,” where it operates the Sheraton Abuja Hotel
“The board also agreed that in order to balance the interest of Capital Hotels Plc, Hans Gremlin Nigeria Limited and 11 Plc, the transaction could be structured with an offer for sale and offer for subscription subject to obtaining approval required from the regulatory authorities.
“The board further agreed that if the new investor accepts the conditions herein stated, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) would be convened to get the approval of the shareholders for this transaction,” the disclosure said.
7Star Global Hangar Gets Aircraft Maintenance License
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has granted 7Star Global Hangar Limited, an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO), a licence to operate an all-inclusive Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of 7Star Global Hangar, Mr Isaac Balami, an aircraft engineer and former National President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), said the development will see the country witness a boom in aircraft maintenance that could save the country over $1 billion annually.
“The huge capital in aircraft maintenance we often experience, amounting to over $1 billion that is annually spent in West Africa alone is going to help to create jobs here in Nigeria.
“We are happy to say goodbye to four years Inspection/Maintenance on Augusta 139 helicopters which most VIPs, even the presidency operates. We also have EC 155 up to 6000 hours/12 years’ inspection.
“On the Learjet 45, about 9,600 hours’ inspection. On the small Cessna aircraft, we have about 100 hours/annual inspection,” he disclosed.
According to him, the company has authorisation to work on the Bombardier DHC-8 100/200/300 (C Checks/8000FH), DHC-8 400 (C checks/8000FH), Challenger 601/604/605 (2400 hours inspections), Hawker Siddeley HS 125-850/900 (A-G Inspections).
“Others are the Bell 429 (5000 hours/five years inspections), Embraer 135/145 (Up 5000 hours/48 months inspections), Embraer 600/650 (20000 hours/96 Months Inspections) and Boeing 737-300/400/500 (Up to 8A inspections).
“This is the highest inspection in most of the aircraft as stipulated in the manufacturer’s manual. That means a lot of job creation for the aviation industry and we are happy,” he said.
The former NAAPE president noted that the company was the first independent privately owned MRO in West and Central Africa because it was a stand-alone and had registered since 2012.
He explained that he was happy to announce the approval after over 15 months of the NCAA reviewing its variation and operational specifications (OpsSpecs) and also expanding the company’s capability list in Wheels and Brakes, NDT etc.
The aviation expert added that the company had finally finished phase five which was the last stage in the certification process and it had been granted final approval.
Mr Balami noted that as a former NAAPE president, he alongside the technical team and board members had seen the difficulties airlines go through to fly their aeroplanes overseas for repairs, incurring huge costs to operators of the aircraft.
He said the company had gone through the process of certification from phase one to phase five and today, with about six to seven experienced NCAA inspectors assigned to the project, the company had been able to go through the process.
The former NAAPE chief said the company was fully ready for operations and it was going to be operating with other sisters MRO and hangars across the country.
He said the company had also invested over five million dollars on equipment alone, adding that those were the equipment the NCAA team came to inspect.
“NCAA is satisfied and the equipment is all overhauled, calibrated, and up-to-date, and our engineers are well-trained on how to operate the equipment,” he said.
Mr Balami lauded the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, for all the support and encouragement, the Director-General of NCAA, Mr Musa Nuhu; the Director of Airworthiness, Mr Kayode Ajiboye, with his team who participated in the success of the certification.
He gave assurance that the aviation ministry, aviation stakeholders and the general public that the trust bestowed on 7 Star Global Hangar would not be taken for granted.
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