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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ghana Airline Takes Flight

ACCRA, Ghana -- Golden Airways, an airline funded by Russian, South African and Ghanaian investors, took to the skies of Ghana on Thursday with an inaugural flight between the capital, Accra, and the town of Kumasi, officials said.

"As from today we fly twice a day, six days a week, between Accra and Kumasi," said managing director David Lechtman, a Russian national.

He said the fleet soon would include four Antonov-24 turboprob airliners and two Mi-17 helicopters serving "four domestic and several regional destinations," he said.

Lechtman has been operating Russian aircraft in Africa since 1980, mainly for UN agencies.

An Antonov 24 holds 52 passengers; a Mi-17 helicopter holds 28.

Stavropol Aviation of southwestern Russia put up $7.8 million, a group of South African businessmen $4 million and Ghanaian businessmen $200,000, Lechtman said.

Russian crews and engineers will fly and service the planes.

The company's technical base is at Tamale airport, which was built by the Soviets in the early 1960s.

"We even have a preliminary agreement with the Antonov factory in Kiev to turn Tamale into a servicing base for all 1,500 Antonovs that are currently flying in Sub-Saharan Africa," said Lechtman.

Future Ghanaian destinations are Tamale, Sunyani and Tarkwa plus neighbors Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, Lechtman added.

National carrier Ghana Airways halted domestic flights in the 1970s.

The Ghana air force has been flying civilians to north Ghana for the past five years to plug the gap in the market.