At the ceremony, Mrs. Osei-Opare, on behalf of President Akufo Addo, expressed their thanks to Africa World Airlines. She said that China was the first country to donate to Ghana and that the donation served as a demonstration of the sincere friendship between the two countries and peoples.
The Chinese ambassador, Mr. Wang, said that since its inception, Africa World Airlines has become the leading airline not only in Ghana but also throughout western Africa and that its air services have not only connected major cities in its home country, but also significantly improved connectivity throughout the region. He also spoke highly of the airline’s support to Ghana in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
HNA implements the One Belt, One Road initiative by building an “air bridge” creating connectivity along the route
Since the One Belt, One Road initiative was launched nearly seven years ago, HNA, a leader in the civil aviation industry, has been actively engaged in the initiative’s implementation. HNA’s airlines now operate nearly 50 routes within the regions targeted by One Belt, One Road. Through air transport, the group has created a One Belt, One Road network that plays a key role in achieving the goals of the initiative. Africa World Airlines is the first air carrier to receive an investment from a Chinese company on the African continent. The investment is a breakthrough in terms of Chinamoving from traditional investment and serving as contractors in Africa to the continent’s aviation service industry.
In September 2018, speakers at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation once again stressed the need to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Africa, consolidating the impetus in building a closer Sino-African community.
Over the past seven years, Africa World Airlines has grown into the largest passenger airline in Ghana, with 98% local employees and an over 60% market share. The airline has provided great support to Ghana’s efforts in establishing the country as the region’s aviation hub, and has provided the momentum for the development of a local aviation market and tourism industry.
HNA leverages its experience to help Africa World Airlines accelerate development with Chinese programs
HNA has been following a strategy of encouraging Chinese companies to invest in Africa and support them when they do, opening international routes that connect with African countries and establishing its first overseas airline in the region. Despite the high prices for air transportation, the low number of passengers, the challenges brought about by the Ebola virus, losses in the African aviation industry and the risk of bankruptcy that has plagued most airlines in the region at one time or another, HNA has backed the African subsidiary with an investment of more than US$30 millionand watched it turn a profit just two years after inception. By doing so, HNA has created a model for cooperation between the Chinese and African aviation sectors.
Since its inception 27 years ago, HNA has accumulated extensive operation and management experience in the aviation industry. Africa World Airlines is another example of HNA’s rich experience in managing airlines in overseas markets. HNA has leveraged its own professional aviation management capabilities and rich management experience in day-to-day operation and safety, and in providing a level of service that shows a real interest in the passenger’s experience and comfort, helping its African subsidiary grow and expand.
Based on the local situation, HNA has always taken safety management as a priority. The airline’s proven record in terms of safety has been a key factor in why charter flight operators have overwhelmingly chosen to work with its two-year old subsidiary. Meanwhile, by controlling costs, employing local staff, offering systematic training, continuously improving service quality, and fulfilling social responsibilities, Africa World Airlines has become a preferred choice among local travellers. All these factors have played in role in the airline being able to turn a profit in such a short time.
HNA Group has taken many steps in optimizing its own international operation and safety management, corporate culture, brand building and cultural integration, to create a model that is representative of the development of China’scivil aviation industry.
Sino-African cooperation in aviation creates an international brand, extending the industrial chain and boosting Africa‘s economic development
Africa World Airlines’ growth has had the knock-on effect of fueling tourism to the degree that it has become the fastest growing industry in Ghana, replacing the timber industry as the country’s third largest foreign exchange earner. Ghanahas also shifted its focus from primary industries such as agriculture and mining to tertiary industries such as tourism and aviation. In line with the shift, Chinese investors have moved from traditional plays such a mining and project contracting to service-oriented ones. The Chinese-invested Africa World Airlines has won a series of awards including the Best Airline Award from the Ghana Tourism Authority, the first Safest Airline Award from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and Africa’s Best Brand from the World Brand Congress.
In order to promote the adoption of its high-tech, value-added products in Africa and optimize the structure of its fleet, HNA Group, via Africa World Airlines and other airlines, will bring China’s technologically mature ARJ21 regional passenger jetliner to Africa to meet local needs for such aircraft. The move will help create opportunities for Chinese manufacturers who are looking to become involved in the civil aviation industry along the One Belt, One Road route, while providing China-made aircraft with wider access to international markets.
In time of need, supporting Ghana‘s fight against COVID-19
According to a spokesperson for Africa World Airlines, since its investment in the Ghanaian airline, HNA Group has integrated its own development roadmap into the national development strategy, aiming to facilitate the rapid growth of Africa World Airlines with HNA’s advanced aviation management experience. In Ghana, corporate social responsibility is particularly important. Operating an airline is a long-term commitment rather than an investment with a short-term exit plan. As a result, being socially responsible must be a key component of corporate development. As Africa now needs to ramp up its efforts in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19, Africa World Airlines needs to focus on its corporate social responsibility and do its part to help local governments fight the epidemic.
The COVID-19 outbreak has served to heighten something that HNA Group has always taken to heart and made part and parcel of its corporate philosophy: being of service to society and helping others in a time of need. The Hainan-based global airline strives to support national diplomacy and local development. The company has to date transported 97,321 pieces of equipment (1,200+ tons) for use in COVID-19 prevention, sent 2,877 medical personnel via 24 charter flights to Hubei, repatriated 713 stranded passengers via 5 charter flights to Hubei, and transported 60 tons of medical supplies in the first freight charter to Hungary in support of the international fight against the epidemic. The various efforts involved an investment of nearly 70 million yuan, demonstrating the social responsibility of the Chinese carrier.