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PODCAST 21: Start-up airline a ray of positivity for West Africa

This week's Times Aerospace podcast for the industry in Africa and the Middle East introduces a new airline planned to launch from The Gambia next year.

Fly WestAf’s managing director Richard Powell talks to Hilka Birns about how the concept for an airline that will reflect the youth and vitality of the West African market came to be, and why he believes that the model for the regional carrier could be perfect for these challenging times.

“I think if you look at any investor history in the past, in any domain, they look at buying when the markets are low. But, the opportunity for us is that aircraft prices have gone down considerably - up to 40%. So our cost basis reduced considerably.”
 
Powell also outlines his fleet plans and explains the financial structure for the airline – and the contribution it will make to the West African economy.
 
Also in the programme, MRO editor, Chuck Grieve, reports on the quandary facing the MRO industry over skilled labour and how flexible maintenance may be the light at the end of the tunnel.
The industry saw a big drop in demand for heavy checks when airlines started moved their fleets into temporary storage. Now, based on current estimates of recovery, it’s going to be at least two years before MRO shops are anywhere near as busy as they were before the pandemic.
But what if ultimately many of these shop visits don’t happen? What effect will that have across the board?
 
Phil Seymour is the president of the consultancy IBA and a former chairman of the commercial aviation trade group ISTAT. He says he’s worried about the long-term impact of deferrals or cancellations on the industry – workforce redundancies in both engine and airframe shops where only a few months ago qualified people were in demand. 
 
This, plus all the news from the region across the industry sectors.
 
 
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