State House, Banjul, 12 th December 2019 – Senior officials from Universal Caravan Aviation, a transnational aviation company based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have shared with President Barrow plans to commence operating a private airline service in The Gambia. The Vice-Chairman of the company, Saidu Mohammed Ahmed, who disclosed the plans in an audience with the president at the State House on Wednesday, 11th December 2019, said the company is expected to launch its Gambia subsidiary – named Jet Wings Gambia, by mid-next year.
Upon completion of the registration process, it would initially fly to all West African cities but subsequently expand to international destinations like Barcelona, Brussels, and the UK. President Barrow lauded the initiative and gave assurances of the government’s open-door policy to any well-meaning participant in the development process of the country. “My government has created the enabling environment for a private sector-led growth of the country’s economy. You are assured of great business climate and high returns on investment here”, President Barrow said. He used the opportunity to raise concerns over the high cost of Hajj air tickets for pilgrims flying from Banjul.
Last year, The Gambia’s hajj rates were among the highest in Africa. “One of the things that were so important and the President was so keen about is the hajj fares. Gambia’s hajj fare is the highest in this region. We promised to operate at a reduced cost by over $1,000 to Gambian pilgrims once we begin flying,” Vice-Chairman Saidu Mohammed Ahmed told the State House Press Corps after the closed discussion, He was accompanied by the Group Chairman, Muadh Suliman Bilal and other top executives.