[Togo] Asky Airlines targets Johannesburg and Paris routes
17-02-2017 05:14:20 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 7406 | Tags:

West African carrier Asky Airlines plans to extend its route network to Paris and Johannesburg as the airline part-owned by Ethiopian Airlines seeks to increase passenger numbers and revenue.

Asky plans to start direct flights between the French capital, home to Air France whose global hub is Charles de Gaulle airport, and its hub in Lome, the capital of Togo, this year or next, said the chief executive Henok Teferra. A Johannesburg service could be introduced by mid-2017, while Asky is also considering a route to Beirut, Lebanon. Passengers could travel from the new cities through Lome to the airline’s 23 other destinations in west and central Africa, including Accra and Lagos.

The new routes will help Asky grow independently of Ethiopian, which owns a 26 per cent stake in the Togolese carrier and uses Lome’s Gnassingbe Eyadema airport as a stop off for transatlantic routes to New York and Sao Paulo. Asky will become the second carrier after the French flag carrier’s parent Air France-KLM to operate a direct Lome-Paris service. The airline is also adding sub-Saharan Africa routes, to Mauritania and Cape Verde.

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 number of passengers to 650,000 this year from almost 600,000 in 2016.

The company made its maiden profit in 2015, five years after starting up, and is upbeat about prospects this year, the CEO said. It hasn’t yet reported earnings for 2016.