West Africa’s ASKY Airlines (KP, Lomé) is still holding out for financial injections from lenders and shareholders but remains confident about its future while consolidating its operations, according to Commercial and Ground Operations Director, Nowel Ngala.
“The project itself is not in doubt, but this period is not conducive to conquering new markets. We will first consolidate our current routes,” Ngala told The Africa Report.
He said the Togo-based airline has sought help from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and several commercial lenders. “We knocked on all the doors, undertook all possible and imaginable steps, but we haven’t yet found a solution, he said.
However, he said, the company’s management refused to give up and had now sought help from its shareholders, which “may offer financial support”. ASKY’s shareholders include strategic partner Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) (40%), Ecobank, the West African Development Bank (Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement – BOAD), South Africa’s Sakhumnotho Group Holding, and other West and Central African private investors.
Like airlines worldwide, ASKY has been hard hit by the pandemic’s fall-out. The carrier’s operations in 2020 fell by 45% compared to 2019. Between March and August 2020, the airline’s operations were restricted to charter operations for the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (Brindisi) in West Africa which involved mobilising three passenger aircraft from Accra, Ghana, as well as operating cargo flights to bring COVID-19 health equipment to West Africa. Despite resuming commercial operations on August 3, ASKY operated at 27% capacity between September and October 2020.
“We had to adapt to the anti-COVID-19 protocols put in place by various countries, review our flight plans according to the curfews introduced, reduce our number of flights to certain countries in order to respect their guidelines, such as Cameroon, Gabon and…