|Hubs||Kotoka International Airport (Accra)|
|Fleet size||0 (68 planned)|
|Key people||Alexander Nwuba, CEO|
Smile Air is an upcoming Ghanaian airline based at Kotoka International Airport in Accra. It plans to use Xian MA600 and MA700 aircraft to fly to destinations throughout West and Central Africa. As of December 2015, it is undergoing certification from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
HistorySmile Air initially planned to operate long-haul flights to cities in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East using Boeing 747 aircraft. Two Boeing 747s were leased from Iranian airline Mahan Air and repainted in Smile Air's livery. However, Smile Air dropped these plans in November 2015, instead deciding to focus on regional flights using smaller aircraft.
In December 2015, the airline placed an order for 68 Xian MA600 and MA700 aircraft, costing over US$1.2 billion. The MA600 received its type certificate from the GCAA in February 2016, allowing it to begin operating for Smile Air.
As of December 2015, Smile Air is undergoing certification from the GCAA, a process it began in 2014.
DestinationsFrom its Accra hub, Smile Air plans to fly to cities across West and Central Africa.
FleetSmile Air will operate 68 Xian MA600 and MA700 aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered between 2016 and 2021 at a rate of 10–12 aircraft annually.
Dr. Alex Nwuba
(Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer) Smile Air
Why People Don’t Travel By Air More – Smile Air CEO, Alex Nwuba
Delay And CancellationA friend called me one morning and she told me that she is at the airport. I was surprised so I asked her what are you doing there, are you not coming for our weekly NYSC CDS (National Youth Service Corps Community Development Service) meeting. She said no that she will be travelling to Enugu, Nigeria for a wedding and she needed to be there on time.
After some days I called her to ask her about the event and her flight experience. She began to narrate her ordeal. The 10 am flight was moved to 2 pm and from that 2 pm, the flight was delayed and finally cancelled. What a Nightmare! And to worsen the whole situation, the customer care unit was not helping matters.
If she was a first-timer, how would she feel? Or if you are the one, how would you feel?
Smile Air CEO said that there was once an airline that operated from Minna, they cancelled their flights many times because of low passenger loads (their reason)… The passengers themselves failed to show up because they airline was unreliable; the would-be passengers left earlier for Abuja by road to increase their chances to get a flight or went by road to be sure they will get to their destinations…
The Cost Of Air TicketsAirfares are relatively high. It’s not everyone that can afford it. Many people would love to fly but the airfare is not encouraging them to do so. Mr Alex Nwuba said Airfares can be cheaper if the government reduces taxes.
I tried sometime one day. I check a flight from point A to Point B and when the fares displayed, I clicked on the fare to see the breakdown. I realized that taxes and service charges are almost higher or closer to the real ticket. So, when you add the taxes and the ticket price the airfare will increase.
Lack of Facilities and Poor service delivery
Today, our airlines have not improved service delivery; they operate an average of two hours late in the afternoons and on a recent flight, four hours, yet couch it as operational reasons. Do passengers care about our operational reasons? We can do a whole lot better for our customers. Alex Nwauba Said
I total agree with him on this one. The airline’s customers’ service is poor and not encouraging at all. I called a particular airline one day to make enquiries about check-in after so many rings no answer, so I decided to send them a mail. Surprising the person that replied told me check-in starts 24 hours before the flight and I was already in the 24 hours yet I was unable to check-in. So, I decided to visit their office. After wasting my transportation fares, the receptionist told me that the check-in starts 4 hours before flight departure.
I did not react. Yeah! I was speechless and when I asked the reasons she didn’t take my calls, she said sorry.
If the airfares can be lesser and the number of flight cancellation also reduced, I believe lots of people would love to travel by air. Air transport is the fastest means of transportation and it can help to catch appointment, connecting flight and when there is a delay, it will definitely affect customer’s engagements.