By: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express
The Management of Brussels Airlines have expressed confident in Ghana’s economy, indicating that the country’s economy is one of the best in Africa.
Philippe Saeys, Brussels Airlines Vice President in charge sale in Africa said the economy they enjoy here in Ghana is much better than other economies in Africa.
“Ghana is doing quite well in terms of airline traffic. If you take a critically look at Ghana five or ten years ago, you will agree with me that Accra has change and there is a huge difference,” said Saeys.
According to Mr. Saeys, there are more trading activities between Europe and Africa especially Ghana and they want to be part of this historic move.
“The industry looks positive globally. I don’t think we will risk in going to a country whereby we didn’t know anything about in advance,” he added.
He told Daily Express in Accra that figures available to the management of Brussels Airlines shows that the traffic from Accra to Belgium and other European countries is encouraging.
Even though there are other European airlines operating in Ghana such as KLM, Vice President Saeys said he did not think KLM and other competitors will come to this country if Ghana’s aviation industry is not good enough. “Most of them are doing seven (7) times a week and that is what we are aiming for,” said Mr. Saeys.
Those of my other competitors in Ghana are already doing well and the challenge to me and my team is to march them equally.
“The advantage we have for been in Ghana is that Brussels Airlines is part of the Lufthansa Group and we have taken over the staff of Lufthansa Airline. We believe this staff knows a lot of passengers that will be of advantage to us,” he explained, adding that “I don’t think airlines will risk going to a market where it will not favour them.”
Mr. Saeys did not agree to the assertion that the Ghana’s aviation industry is saturated. “If the aviation industry in Ghana is saturated then all the major airlines in the country would have been left but contrary is happening here. More flights are coming into the country.”
“How many flights are operating in the country now, and compare them to that of five or ten years ago. So the market is still growing and there are no signs of over capacity or saturation here in Ghana and the West African region,” Mr. Philippe Saeys observed..
“There might be some other countries like South Africa where the airline industry is really saturated but not a country like Ghana,” he added.
Philippe Saeys- Vice President Sale for Africa; Kata Racz- Area Manager West Africa and Rita Macedo- Country Manager Ghana
He told Daily Express that despite the deregulation introduced by National Petroleum Authority (NPA) into the petroleum sector and the high cost of aviation fuel, Brussels Airlines can breakeven in Ghana.
He said Brussels Airlines Ghana office is not responsible for all cost incurred by the airline in Ghana. “Costs are spread and not all costs are paid for by Brussels Airline here in Ghana. There are parts which are paid for in the Head office.”
He mentioned catering and the aircraft which are paid for in the head office. However, what Ghana office pays for are salaries to the staff, taxes and a few other things.
He said they will consider introducing Free Freedom Rites between Ghana and Togo. The Free Freedom Rites allow the airline runs between Ghana and Togo without to and fro. “We will do a formal request to the Ghana Civil Aviation (GCA) and also to the Togolese Civil Aviation,” he added.
“We first have to seek approval from both countries’ aviations before we can start this. We will first ask them if it possible to do it here. We are already enjoying Free Freedom Rites from Freetown- Monrovia and Monrovia-Freetown and as well as Ivory Coast.
Brussels Airlines has about 3,500 employees from 45 different countries with more than 10,000 indirect jobs. The company has 47 aircraft that plies 85 destinations (64 in Europe, 19 in Africa and 2 in the US).
In 2014, the airline recorded 6.6 million passengers. Between January and September, 2015, the number has increased by 12.4% of the last year figure. The airline arrived in Ghana on Monday 26, October, 2015 with 280 passengers out of 286 seats.