The Guinean Transport Minister, Aristides Ocante da Silva, announced on Wednesday the creation of Guinea-Bissau Airlines, a company to be operated jointly with a Canadian-based company.
AJitaa-Aeronautics will supply the aircraft that Guinea-Bissau Airlines will use to connect, in a first phase, the Guinean capital, Bissau, with the islands of the Bijagós archipelago and the southern and eastern parts of the country, said Ocante da Silva.
During the same period, which the minister did not specify, Guinea-Bissau Airlines will link Bissau to the capitals of Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Liberia, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
In the future, which was also not determined by Ocante da Silva, the new company will operate flights to Lisbon (Portugal), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Rome (Italy).
The Guinea-Bissau Airlines that will transport passengers and cargo will also handle the movement of Muslim pilgrims to the holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, the minister said.
The company will also transport fishery and agricultural products from Guinea-Bissau to the international market, said Aristides Ocante da Silva.
A Guinean technical delegation was expected to travel to Lisbon to inspect the first aircraft of Guinea-Bissau Airlines, which the minister said had been delayed just to allow for the signing of the agreement creating the company.
In the near future, noted Aristides Ocante da Silva, 50 crew members, assistance and maintenance personnel will be trained on the ground.
In addition to jobs, the Transport Minister believes that Guinea-Bissau Airlines will allow an improvement in the price of airline tickets.
The vice president of the African subsidiary of Jitaa-Aeronautics, Gaussu Sauané expects Guinea-Bissau Airlines to start operating “in the shortest possible time.”
Guinea-Bissau has already tried, with little success, a few flagship companies, notably Guinea-Bissau Airlines (LAGB), Guinea-Bissau Air Transport (TAGB), later named Air Bissau, which operated until 1998.