President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, when the Chief Executive Officer of Air France-KLM, Jean-Marc Janaillac, paid a courtesy call him at the Presidency.
The purpose of the visit was to inform the President formally of the commencement of Air France-KLM’s direct flights from Accra to Paris.
Together with the French Ambassador to Ghana, Mr François Pujolas, and a delegation from Air France-KLM, Jean-Marc Janaillac noted that instead of Air France-KLM adding another flight from to the Accra-Amsterdam route, “we thought it was useful to add a new flight to Paris.”
This decision, he explained would ensure greater connectivity between Accra and Europe, and would also provide relief for many travellers who, hitherto, had to transit at Schipol Airport, in Amsterdam, before reaching Paris.
Jean-Marc Janaillac told President Akufo-Addo that the maiden Air France-KLM flight from Accra to Paris, on Tuesday, February 28, was almost full, a situation he described as rare in the industry.
The three-times-a-week flight to Paris, he added, will be operated by an Airbus A330, which will be replaced by a Boeing 777, with 50% more seats, by the end of March.
“As an airline, our job is to create links between people and countries. We are happy to be a part of the strengthening of the links between Ghana, France and Europe. I am sure that this new route will be a success,” he said.
On his part, President Akufo-Addo described the development as a happy day for the two countries, stating that “our country has very strong relations with France, relations that we want to continue to develop and expand.”
He added that “we want our country to be linked to the major economic centres in the world”, so as to help rebuild the Ghanaian economy.
The rebuilding of the economy, he noted, will be done “on the basis of improving the business climate in the country. Our major concern is to create the conditions in the country which will allow investments, both domestic and foreign, to flourish in Ghana. This is the way we can create prosperity and raise the living standards of our people. We are very open for business across all the various sectors of our national life.”
The President stressed that “communicating and being able to link up with economic centres around the world is an important part of the strategy (to rebuild the economy). So, we are grateful that Air France-KLM has expressed its confidence in the future of Ghana, by the decision to establish this direct link between your country and ours.”
The President was confident that this would be a very successful line as the Air France-KLM service is well patronized by Ghanaians.
“You have indicated that you were surprised by the patronage even on the maiden flight. It is a trend that will continue, and it will increase when our economy picks up, because the economy will pick up. The Ghanaian economy is going to go back to serious growth, it is going to expand, and the opportunities for French, European businesses in Ghana are going to grow. So this linkage is going to be an important one for us,” he said
The President also indicated that this flight would boost tourist attractions to the country, assuring that his government is going to pay a lot of attention to the tourism sector as “it will create jobs and develop businesses in Ghana.”