PassionAir, a leading domestic airline in Ghana, commemorates its 5th anniversary by reflecting on a journey marked by challenges, triumphs and unwavering determination.
In an exclusive interview with B&FT, Managing Director Samuel Ato Hagan shared insights into the airline’s pivotal moments, accomplishments and future plans.
Since its establishment in 2018, PassionAir has carved a significant presence in Ghana’s aviation landscape by reshaping the nation’s air travel. The airline embarked on its journey modestly, operating routes primarily connecting Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. Despite facing early challenges with passenger numbers, the airline persisted. Takoradi flights were temporarily suspended due to shifting market dynamics, but PassionAir’s operational footprint now spans six routes including Wa and Sunyani.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a stern test for the airline’s resilience. Lockdowns halted operations for almost a month, and post-lockdown restrictions led to reduced capacity. Throughout this challenging period, PassionAir engaged with suppliers and bankers to weather the storm – successfully resuming full operations by end of 2020.
At the core of PassionAir’s success lies a pivotal decision made in the later part of 2020 – the integration of diverse aircraft types, creating a comprehensive fleet encompassing Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 and 300 aircraft. This strategic move enabled the airline to address diverse passenger needs effectively. The transition from outsourcing services to achieving self-sufficiency in aircraft maintenance underscored the airline’s adaptability and cost-effectiveness.
The airline’s collaboration with aerospace engineering students from KNUST is a noteworthy achievement. By offering a platform for these students to advance within Ghana’s aerospace industry, PassionAir not only strengthens its workforce but contributes to growth of the nation’s aviation sector.
Mr. Duncan Sambu, Chief Operating Officer, proudly stated: “Approximately 70% of PassionAir’s pilots are home-grown talents, including the country’s youngest female pilot. This accomplishment highlights our commitment to diversity and empowerment”.
In the face of economic challenges, PassionAir focused on optimising operations. Escalating aviation fuel costs and currency depreciation posed hurdles, leading the airline to re-evaluate routes and balance operational costs with affordable fares for passengers.
Mr. Hagan emphasised: “Our achievements reflect resilience and adaptability. In navigating business intricacies, we’ve supported our workforce during tumultuous times while expanding our operational reach”.
As PassionAir celebrates its 5th anniversary, the journey becomes a source of inspiration for overcoming adversity through determination, strategic decisions and innovation. The airline’s plans for the future encompass enhancing passenger volumes, securing foreign charter contracts, and advocating for policies that lower operating costs and ticket prices – thus stimulating economic growth.
With its unwavering commitment to excellence, dedication to its employees and a vision to connect regions, PassionAir has become a beacon within Ghana’s aviation industry. As the airline continues to evolve, it offers hope for the broader sector by showcasing the possibilities which emerge from navigating challenges with resilience.
Looking ahead, PassionAir’s strategic roadmap includes expanding passenger volumes, exploring foreign charter contracts, and promoting accessibility and affordability in air travel within Ghana. As it marks its 5th anniversary, PassionAir’s journey reflects resilience and adaptability. Through challenges and accomplishments, the airline has firmly established itself in Ghana’s aviation landscape and is poised to achieve even greater heights in the years ahead.