Onboard the flight which lasted 45 minutes from the Kotoka International Airport to the Sunyani Airport were Members of Parliament; members of the Ghana Airports Company Limited Board; management and staff of Passion Air; pressmen and other passengers.
The flight signals the beginning of Passion Air’s Sunyani route which would fly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the morning as well as Sundays in the afternoon on a promotional fare of GHS600 per flight.
It was the first commercial flight to the airport since President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inaugurated the first phase of the rehabilitation and expansion of the facility on August 3 this year.
Domestic air travel rebounds
Speaking at an event to welcome Passion Air’s maiden commercial domestic flight to the Bono regional capital, the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, disclosed that the domestic air travel market had recovered and increased by 70 percent from 2020 to 2021 after a drop of 38% was experienced from 2019 to 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that regard, he commended the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for taking steps to ensure continued operations in the sector despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister also mentioned that the importance of air transport to economic growth and development could not be overemphasized, given that it was one of the fastest, most dependable, and most convenient modes of transport.
He was hopeful that the reopening of the airport would create more jobs in trade and tourism which would benefit the people of Sunyani and beyond.
Mr Asiamah said this could only be achieved if the route was viable, urging passengers to patronise the airline and airline operators to take client relations seriously.
He added that the government would continue to create the enabling environment to expand domestic airline operations in the country.
Reduction in travel time to Sunyani
For his part, the Managing Director (MD) of Passion Air, Samuel Ato Hagan, said the airline’s Sunyani flight would reduce time spent travelling from Accra to the region to just an hour, saving valuable production hours which could be used elsewhere.
He added that the aviation industry had faced challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, depreciation of the Ghana cedi and a rise in Aviation fuel prices.
The Managing Director (MD) of Passion Air, Samuel Ato Hagan
“The airline industry is an important contributor towards economic development and must be protected. It has increased the easier and faster movements of goods and passengers within the country as well as created jobs both directly and indirectly for the populace. Air transport is no longer a luxury but an important component of economic development where time is of the essence,” Mr Hagan said.
“PassionAir remains the only domestic airline with the largest route network in the country, operating from five (5) out of six (6) of the country’s regional airports with our base in Accra, Kotoka International Airport, Terminal Two (T2).
“Today, we are happy to add the beautiful city of Sunyani and its surrounding areas to our network. It is our goal to connect Ghana one city at a time while providing the best quality service to bring a memorable in-air and on-ground experience, through leadership, excellence and accountability”.
Okokyeredom Sakyi Ako, Omanhene of the Drobo Traditional Area
Okokyeredom Sakyi Ako II, Omanhene of the Drobo Traditional Area in an address on behalf of the Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu II, urged indigenes of the Bono Region to ensure that the route becomes viable.
He was hopeful that the profitability of the destination would speed up the second phase of the Sunyani Airport’s construction.