West African carrier to spread its wings to SA
Henok Teferra said in an interview last week. A Johannesburg service could be introduced by the middle of this year, while Asky is also considering a route to Beirut, Lebanon. Passengers could travel from these cities through Lomé to the airline’s 23 other destinations in West and Central Africa, including Accra and Lagos.
“Paris is among our priority destinations,” Teferra said. “There is significant traffic between France and francophone countries in West and Central Africa.”
The new routes will help Asky to grow independently of Ethiopian, which owns a 26-per- cent stake in the Togolese carrier and uses Lomé’s Gnassingbé Eyadéma airport as a stop-off for transatlantic routes to New York and Sao Paulo.Demand for air travel in the region is rising alongside household incomes and economic growth, Teferra said.
Asky will add to its eight- plane fleet this year through a lease of two Boeing 737-800s, and aims to boost its passenger numbers to 650 000 this year from almost 600 000 in 2016.
The company made its maiden profit in 2015, five years after starting up, Teferra said. It hasn’t yet reported earnings for 2016.
Sub-Saharan African economies are predicted to grow by 2.8 percent this year and 3.7 percent in 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund. That compares with an estimated 1.6 percent last year.
The airline is open to discussions with potential investors, Teferra said. Other stakeholders include Lomé-based Ecobank Transnational and the West African Development Bank. – Bloomberg