Starbow has finalised the lease agreement for two more BAe 146 passenger jets, which will double its fleet to four of the type. The Ghanaian airline is expanding its route network amidst rapid growth.
Starbow said it is leasing the BAe 146s from Riva Investments Limited, a lessor based in the British Virgin Islands, which has purchased the aircraft from Falko Regional Aircraft Limited. Delivery of the aircraft is scheduled for May.
Starbow started domestic operations in Ghana on 26 September last year with its maiden flight to Kumasi. Starbow said passenger numbers have increased overwhelmingly since it commenced operations. The airline currently serves Kumasi with 16 flights a week, Tamale with 7 flights a week and Takoradi with 5 flights a week.
Regionally, Starbow plans to offer direct air services from Accra, Ghana to capital cities of neighbouring countries in the second quarter of this year namely, Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Monrovia in Liberia and Cotonou in Benin.
Building on its very strong opening performance, Starbow said it continues to place its faith in the BAe 146 which was designed for, and is very well suited to, the regional routes planned by the airline. This is mainly due to the vast majority of routes being quite short and operating from some limited access airfields. The aircraft’s high wing and four engine configuration is complemented by tail-mounted air brakes and optional steep approach modifications to extend the aircraft’s potential into airfields formerly accessible to turboprop aircraft alone.
Starbow received its first BAe 146 on July 6 last year, from Riva Investments. They are configured to carry 94 passengers, including eight in business class.
Starbow said that in order to achieve world class levels of safety and reliability, it had partnered with European maintenance providers Inflite and hired pilots trained to European Aviation Safety Agency standards.
Starbow is the operating name of Aero Surveys Limited, which in March 2010 began regular commercial flights with its Air Shuttle arm, flying two Embraer EMB 110 Banderiante aircraft on domestic routes.
According to Airline Business magazine, 74% of intra-African routes have no more than one daily flight while around half of African city pairs are underserved, putting Starbow in a good position to fill this gap.