AfricaWest looks to expand

Due to strong intra-regional trade, Lome, Togo-based AfricaWest Cargo is looking to serve up to 10 new African destinations in the near future, Yannick Erbs, the carrier’s CEO, told Air Cargo World. He also said that AfricaWest Cargo has been eying the Far East for growth, in hopes of better addressing the Africa-to-China trade lane.

Demand for petroleum, oil and gas equipment, and telecommunications products is propelling the need for increased services, Erbs said, and the need to transport these goods will only increase in the future. To address this potential boost in activity, the company replaced its MD-11 fleet with Boeing 767F-300 planes earlier this year. But it might have been a short-lived replacement. Admitting that the 767Fs were practical at the time, Erbs said that the company is currently looking into other options. An announcement, he said, “will come in due course.”

Operating in any emerging market can come with security issues, and while some carriers have voiced concern about the safety of cargo in Africa, Erbs said these ideas are mostly unfounded. Although security breaches do exist in Africa, they aren’t exclusive to the continent, he told Air Cargo World. Erbs also maintained that African airports take strong measures to protect cargo.

“Based on AfricaWest Cargo’s 15 years of operation, I can say that [security issues] are very marginal at most airports in Western and Central Africa, due to the strict and efficient security measures that are put in place,” Erbs said. “In addition to this, it should be made known that there is an assuring presence of a large group of security personnel roving around the concerned areas, who are well-trained and reliable.”

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