Starbow carefully considers evening flights to Kumasi

Starbow PlaneStarbow Airlines, one of the domestic carriers, says it is working at ensuring that it sustains its evening flights to Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region.

As a result, the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Mr James Eric Antwi, says it will not rush into deploring aircraft on the route only to withdraw because of low passenger load.

“We are still studying the trend and looking at the options. The way things are now, if you go in, it may be difficult to get returns flights and if that occurs and you do not take time, you may be running at a loss and that will not be good for the business,” Mr Antwi told the Graphic Business on January 7.

His comments come on the back of the upgrade of the Kumasi Airport from a domestic airport to an international one, following the installation of flow lights that will allow flights to land in the night.

The upgrade is expected to increase business for domestic and international carriers while easing the challenges associated with traveling to and from the city, which is the country’s largest commercial hub.

Already, some domestic carriers have hinted of their intentions to commence evening flights, something the Starbow CEO said was welcoming.

“We are also preparing our timetable and looking at other factors. If all works well, then we will also commence night flights in the week ending January 9 or the subsequent one,” he said, adding that night flights generally are costly to operate and must not be rushed into.

“If you there in the night, what it means is you may return around mid-night and that time will be difficult to get customers for a return flight,” he explained.

New aircraft next month

Beyond the economic challenges emanating from the cedi depreciation and its pass-through effects last year, Starbow was bedeviled by some operational challenges which caused its aircraft to be grounded in line with safety requirements.

With these in mind, Mr Antwi said 2014 had not been very smooth for the business but hoped that this year would be better.

He hinted that the company had placed orders for two passenger aircraft, one of which would be arriving in February.

“The other should be in by April. Once these are in, we will increase our routes and the frequencies too,” he said and added that the Accra-Sunyani, Accra-Takoradi and Accra-Kumasi routes were some of the areas the airline would be looking at.