Gervais Djondo is a man with a dream.
The former industry minister of the west African state of Togo has set himself a mission to create a pan-African airline serving the continent, an elusive goal since a previous venture, Air Afrique, collapsed under a pile of debt in 2002.
Africa’s aviation market is set to soar in the coming years, powered by the resource-rich continent’s robust economic growth and burgeoning consumer market, which are multiplying business and leisure travel. Big airline manufacturers are eyeing potentially buoyant orders, as Africans increasingly turn to air travel.
Inspired by the memory of Air Afrique – a once proud name in post-independence Africa that combined the resources of a dozen or so former French colonies – Djondo has set up a privately financed Togo-based airline, ASKY, which made its first flight in 2010 and now flies to 17 countries in Africa.
“The plan in the short to medium term is to develop a strong airline for … Africa in general, in an environment characterised by a multiplicity of small companies that appear and disappear within a few years,” Djondo told Reuters.