UK ACMI and charter specialist Titan Airways is to station one of its three Airbus A320s at London’s Gatwick Airport this winter to support a new contract with specialist West African tour operator, The Gambia Experience, flying holidaymakers to Banjul.
The tour operator who - as sister brand Corsican Places - has been working with Titan for six years, will begin cooperation with the carrier on the Banjul route for the first time in mid October. The direct flights from Gatwick will operate up to three times weekly through the winter 2015/2016 schedule until the end of April next year.
The aircraft, which features Titan Airways’ newly launched wireless entertainment platform, will be configured with 168 all-leather seats for the role. The Gambia Experience will be offering an upgraded Star Service flight option with a comprehensive package of flight extras.
“We are proud to be increasing our cooperation with Titan Airways. We receive regular praise regarding the crew, comfort and attention to detail of the airline from our Corsica customers and we know that Titan will look after our Gambia clients just as impeccably,” said Paul Kenny, commercial manager, The Gambia Experience.
The oldest English speaking country in West Africa, The Gambia gained independence from Britain in 1965 and it remains very popular with UK holidaymakers, with the majority visiting for winter sun and bird-watching as well as the nightlife around the tourist resorts.
Tourism accounts for 40 per cent of The Gambia's annual economic output and around 60 per cent of all tourists come from the UK, particularly busy tourist season from October to late March, supporting over 50,000 people are employed locally by the sector. International inbound tourist arrivals have risen from 91,000 in 2010 to 171,000 in 2013, according to The World Bank.
Titan has previous experience of the Gambian market having previously flown for the country’s flag carrier Gambia Bird Airlines prior to its closure in December 2014. Titan first operated on behalf of Gambia Bird for the first time in early September 2013, providing short term ACMI coverage of operations from London Gatwick to airfields in Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal and Ghana.
After the successful completion of this initial three day contract a longer-term cooperation saw a single Boeing 757-200 fly for the African carrier from November 11, 2013 through to the end of that winter’s schedule on March 31, 2014.
Alongside the Banjul flight series, the Gatwick based A320 unit will operate weekend ski flights to the French Alps. Outside of these dual commitments, the aircraft will be available for further tour operator requirements, ad hoc charter and airline sub charter roles, said the London Stansted-headquartered operator.