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Aviation can help economy to soar

Article - September 20, 2012
The aviation sector can aid Equatorial Guinea's economic take off and improve the fortunes of the masses
ANDREAS KAÏAFAS, CEO OF CRONOS AIRLINES
Although oil has brought great wealth to some, the rest of Equatorial Guineans are looking for new ways to find jobs, hope, inspiration and a better future for themselves and their families. Aviation has a significant part to play in all this, according to Andreas Kaïafas, CEO of Cronos Airlines.

Mr. Kaïafas is looking to advance the fortunes of the country with his airline. The geographic nature of the country means that air travel is very important. The country consists of a mainland territory, and five small islands.

“In general, transport is vital. That is how you move goods and people, so it is something that is very important for our country; not just aviation, but also maritime and ground transport. Transport is a key factor for the economy. Aviation is like a billboard advertising a country,” said Mr. Kaïafas.

Since it began in 2008, Cronos Airlines has grown steadily. Mr. Kaïafas states his ambition and he says the company “has a vision of becoming a medium-sized airline regionally.” This vision will hopefully bring about opportunities for employment, as well as increasing the amount of tourism activity within the mainland and the surrounding islands. Mr. Kaïafas believes Cronos Airlines can play a major part in the future progress of the country.

“By maintaining a low fare policy within the sector (Malabo-Bata-Malabo) of course taking into consideration the different costs, Cronos participates in the socioeconomic development of the country. Also, 85% of Cronos’ employees are Guinean, so we provide jobs and training in the aviation sector,” he says.

“In order to be able to issue a license they need a certified and approved flying school. So we send pilots outside of Equatorial Guinea. We have pilots here with ICAO and European licenses for instance,” said Mr. Kaïafas. Whether this will be something that he and the Government look to explore in the future remains to be seen.

Furthermore, many Americans can enter the country, thanks to the relaxed Visa regulations and a possible partnership with companies like Delta airlines could be on the horizon in the future. However Mr. Kaïafas stresses: “We want to be a regional airline. There is a vision for a new terminal at Malabo, where you can have transit passengers as well. So if airlines like Delta come in, you will have passengers from Cameroon and the rest of the region flying to Malabo, and from Malabo to Atlanta with Delta, for example, and the same thing with other international airlines. We can play a small role bringing passengers to Delta and CEIBA.”

One other path for the future for Cronos Airlines might be to grow the cargo side of the business. The CEO knows that this is a longer process and something for the future.

“We are trying to work on the cargo business, but it takes time. We will do it step-by-step. Our priority is to concentrate on the scheduled passengers. We have a good cargo space in the planes; we can take 3.2 tons and 3.8 tons. I think within two years maybe we will have something strong in cargo, but we want to focus more on passengers,” he says.

With the Equatorial Guinean economy already taking off thanks to the large deposits of oil within the country, aviation provides hope for jobs in other sectors, while also allowing for growth in tourism and putting the country on the map and raising its profile internationally. Mr. Kaïafas has a clear plan and it remains to be seen what the true economic benefits of his work will have on Equatorial Guinea, but the sky is the limit.

  1 COMMENT



sandile maxiniva
02/05/2013  |  9:52
100% of 1

mr Andreas was a friendly man who offered me a cabin crew position unlike many CEOs he always made sure that his employees are happy all the time i had the time of my life working for cronos something that i will never forget am truellly grateful