South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s leading airline has formally launched a new direct flight service from Accra, Ghana to Washington DC, USA.

The airline, in partnership with Africa World Airlines (AWA), will, starting August 2, be offering travellers four nonstop flights weekly – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays – from Accra to Washington DC.

Speaking at an impressive launch event at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra last Friday, Dr. John Thambi, a representative of SAA said SAA’s decision to use Ghana for the route for the North American service was based on the country’s sound business principle.

According to him, “South Africa brings Africa to the world and the world to Africa but most importantly South Africa and Ghana have been very blessed, blessed to have visionary leadership in the persons of Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela.”

The launch of the “DC flight is not by accident” he noted adding that “it entails a lot of hard work and it is the manifestation of the dream that African leaders had in 1988…to bring us together as one Africa.”

The airline, Dr. Thambi said, has the best safety record on the continent and the launch is the beginning of a vigorous campaign to interconnect African countries and cities and also make air travel cheaper.

He commended Ghana for continuing its “visionary role of serving as a pioneer in this sector and I believe that after this launch and the benefit that comes thereof, other Africa countries will be rushing to Ghana to be a part of this aviation experience.”

Mrs. Dzifa Attivor, Minister of Transport, who launched the flight service, said her ministry decided to grant SAA the licence to operate the route because it will “ensure that there is flexibility in travel by passengers to various destinations from Accra.”

The move, she added, is also in line with the government’s policy objective of making Ghana the aviation hub in the West African sub-region and also strengthen local careers in the country.

“Ghana is currently going through Federal Aviation Administration audit to restore its lost FAA category one status to enable access by Ghanaian careers particularly the new national career being established to fly to the United States of America,” she disclosed.

The SAA Accra-Washington service, the Minister hopes, will bring healthy competition with benefits to the travelling public in terms of reduced fares and service satisfaction.

Lawyer, fashion enthusiast and TV personality, Sandra Ankobiah endorsing SAA said, “I have been on SAA a few times, I can confidently say that their flights are very comfortable, aircraft is spacious. Flight attendants are very friendly, the food, amazing cuisine. One thing I also enjoy about SAA is their in-flight entertainment…I’m really excited and looking forward to flying with them.”

Former Black Stars defender Samuel Osei Kuffour, who is a frequent user of SAA flights, also said the flight from Accra to Washington DC is “a great one. It a great opportunity for people living in Ghana,” so they don’t have to hustle with using several routes before getting to the US.

Friday’s launch was attended by Nii Kpobi Tetteh Tsru, the La Mantse, South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms. Lulama Xingwana, Ms. Hannah Tetteh – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Nana Oye Lithur, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister and other dignitaries.