The two operational domestic airlines in the country, Starbow and Africa World Airliners (AWA), have received the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate — a measure of the sound safety, management and quality control systems of the two operators.
The IOSA is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines. All IATA members are registered and must remain registered in order to maintain IATA membership.
About 24 airlines operate within the West African sub-region with a relatively young population of about 300 million. However, though operational efficiency and safety is high among various airlines in Ghana and the sub-region, just five airlines are IATA-certified.
Aside from the two Ghanaian carriers, Nigerian airlines Arik and Aero, and Lomé-based Asky Airlines are the other IOSA certified airlines.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — the global trade association for the airline industry with over 250 member-airlines which comprise 84% of total air transport — the IOSA programme is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.
The attainment of IOSA certification means that indigenous carriers can now compete favourably with their peers in the sub-region for big-ticket international-organisation clients.
It will also make it possible for them — Starbow and AWA — to enter into commercial agreements with foreign carriers like KLM, Lufthansa, BA, Tap Portugal, Emirates and others to handle passengers travelling on itineraries that require multiple airlines.
For instance, passengers travelling from Frankfurt in Germany to Kumasi via Accra or from London to Takoradi through Accra. Domestic carriers can partner foreign airlines to operate the domestic end of such travellers’ itineraries.
“We intend to deepen our partnership with South African Airways (SAA) given the attainment of IOSA certification. One of the things that was preventing us from doing the code share was getting this IOSA certificate. So once we have it, we are working at deepening it so we have a better code share,” said Samuel Thompson, Chief Operations Officer of AWA.
“Our current fleet is not very suitable for the regional flights so we are looking at getting something bigger, like a medium-haul aircraft with a seat range of about 120-160, then we will start doing Lagos, Abuja, Monrovia and Freetown. We will still do what we are doing and improve on our safety, management systems, and our quality management systems,” he added.
Mr. Eric Antwi, the Chief Executive Officer of Starbow — whose company received its IOSA certificate in September 2015, noted that: “When this is through it will increase our business with other airline service providers who will give us passengers and vice versa.
“We are happy to be among the listed airlines which include major intercontinental and regional carriers that have successfully gone through this rigorous auditing process.”
The IOSA certification audit is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline, with emphasis on universally accepted best practices in the Airline industry.
IOSA uses internationally recognised audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner.