Independent Romanian charter specialist, Ten Airways, has won a contract from the Government of Guinea Bissau to become the small west African nation’s de facto flag carrier and will launch scheduled flights from its capital, Bissau in May this year, initially providing links to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
The airline, backed by businessman Ovidiu Tender, who runs a group of geological, oil and gas exploration and tourism companies, recently revealed plans to launch its own scheduled operations in Romania under the Fly Romania operational brand and this African contract further diversifies and expands its product offering. According to data from our blog, Airline Route, (Fly Romania to Start Lisbon – Bissau Service from mid-May 2014) the airline will introduce a three times weekly Bissau – Lisbon link from May 16, 2014 using one of its McDonnell Douglas MD-83s, operating as ‘X51203’ and ‘X51204’. In the GDS, the flight also displays FlexFlight’s ‘W2’ code, most likely to increase brand and market awareness.
Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since gaining independence from Portugal in the 1970s, and no elected president has successfully served a full five-year term. The country's military staged a coup and arrested the interim president and a leading presidential candidate as recent as April 2012 and officials are now working to bring a sustainable future to the country, whose per-capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world.
Osvaldo Vieira International Airport in Bissau is the only international airport in the country. According to data from OAG Schedules Analyser, this year it is being served by Senegal Airlines from Dakar, by ASKY Airlines from Conakry and Monrovia by Royal Air Maroc from Banjul, Casablanca and Praia and by Gambia Bird Airlines from Conakry and Dakar.
As a former Portuguese colony, the flight to Lisbon has been a key historical link for the country and is already flown by TAP Portugal: the Star Alliance member currently offers a three times weekly schedule on the route using Airbus A319 and A320 equipment.
In the analysis below we look at bi-directional O&D demand on the Lisbon – Bissau route over the past ten years. During this period TAP Portugal has boosted its frequencies from a weekly to three times weekly operation, while other carriers such as Air Luxor (up until December 2007), Air Bissau International (August 2007 – December 2009) and Euroatlantic Airways (October 2010 – July 2013) have served the route.
Romania’s Ten Airways inaugurated operations in 2010 as a successor of Jetran Air and currently operates a fleet of two McDonnell Douglas MD-82s and three MD-83s. It is part of the part of Tender Group, a significant Romanian conglomerate with interests in fields such as energy, oil and gas industry services, geological prospecting, road infrastructure, real estate, agriculture and more.
Its low-cost offshoot, Fly Romania, intends to launch operations in April 2014, initially offering six routes, comprising a mix of domestic and international services. The carrier will operate from a base in the capital’s Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport but will also offer limited international connections from Timisoara and the only current scheduled links from Tulcea’s Danube Delta Airport.