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GMQ-2012-09 - FLIGHT LAUNCH
GMQ-A319 - INTRO
GMQ-ROUTE MAP - 2012-11
Formed and started operations in 2012. Domestic, regional & international, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo jet airplane services.
Gambia Bird House
38 Kairaba Avenue
Gambia (Republic of Gambia) was established in 1965, it covers an area of 11,295 sq km, its population is 1.2 million, its capital city is Banjul, and its official languages are English, Mandingo, and Wolof.
April 2012: Gambia Bird (GMQ) (based at Banjul International airport (BJL)) is planning to launch operations later this summer as a joint venture (JV) between the Gambian government and Germania ((IATA) Code: ST, based at Berlin Tegel airport (TXL)) (GER) subsidiary Flynext ((IATA) Code: L3, based at Nuremberg airport (NUE)). (GMQ) plans to initially serve Conakry G'bessia International (CKY), Dakar Yoff-Léopold Sédar Senghor International (DKR), Freetown Lungi International (FNA), Lagos Murtala Muhammad (LOS) airports from Banjul with an A319-100 operated by Flynext (L3) as well as destinations in Spain and the UK, where it will also cooperate with tour operators.
May 2012: Flynext ((IATA) Code: L3, formerly based at Nuremberg airport (NUE)) will be rebranded as Germania Express (L3, based at Berlin Schönefeld airport (SXF)) on July 1 to better reflect its main business which currently are wet-lease operations on behalf of sister carrier Germania (GER) with two A319-100s.
September 2012: 1st A319-112 (4663, D-ASTA - - SEE PHOTO - - "GMQ-A319-112 - 2012-09"), Germania (GER) Express wet-leased (ACMI), delivery. The airplane was painted by Air Livery at Norwich International Airport, England, UK.
October 2012: The new Gambian national airline, Gambia Bird (GMQ) started operations on 22 October, on its first day launching three West African routes. (GMQ) is owned by Germania (GER) of Germany, ensuring that the airline is unaffected by the European Union (EU) ban on Gambian airlines. With a single 144-seat A319 airplane, Gambia Bird (GMQ) began its first day of operations launching flights from its base in the Gambian capital Banjul (BJL) to Senegal’s capital Dakar (DKR). The 180 km route, which (GMQ) will operate three times a week, competes with Senegal Airlines (SNG)’s five and Arik Air (AKI)’s three weekly flights. (GMQ) also began serving Monrovia (ROB) from Banjul. Twice a week, (GMQ) will operate between the Gambian and Liberian capitals in competition with Royal Air Maroc (RAM)’s weekly operation. Once a week, Gambia Bird (GMQ) continues on the busy route from Monrovia to Ghana’s capital Accra (ACC), competing with ASKY (AKY)’s four flights a week and each three flights a week on Delta (DAL), Kenya Airways (KEN) and Arik Air (AKI), as well as Air Mali’s twice-weekly operations.
Gambia Bird (GMQ) launched operations with weekly flights: Banjul (BJL) - London Gatwick (LGW), (BJL) - Barcelona and Freetown - (LGW) services. (GMQ) is also planning to launch service from (BJL) to Dakar (4X weekly), Freetown (2X weekly), Monrovia (2X weekly), Lagos (2X weekly), Conakry (weekly), and Accra (weekly). All Freetown flights are pending government approval. Later, (GMQ) will operate its airplanes to European cities in Spain and the United Kingdom (UK).
(GMQ) is a joint venture between the Gambian Government and Germania (GER) subsidiary, Germania Express. Germania (GER) will retain a 90% ownership share of Gambia Bird (GMQ).
(IATA) Code: 3G. (ICAO) Code: GBQ - (Callsign - GAMBIA BIRD).
Main Base: Banjul International airport (BJL).
Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Karsten Balke said he expects 85% of (GMQ)'s traffic to be within Western Africa. "Gambia Bird is focusing on organic growth," he said. "The political situation in Gambia is stable; it offers developed tourism and the country is open to foreign investors. We expect good market opportunities, offering safe service. There are not many flight connections within Africa and several carriers face safety issues."
Balke said (GMQ) is in talks with Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA) to establish some cooperation. "Also, we are in contact with other carriers, for example, on how we can cooperate in terms of maintenance." Balke said (GMQ) sees itself as a "feeder carrier, like for Asian carriers." He said Africa provides a potential market with higher fares but acknowledged the high risk of establishing a new carrier in Africa. "Competitors (are) already reducing fares, since they know we are coming."
(GMQ) (CEO), Thomas Wazinski said "Everyone has a stake in the future of Gambia Bird (GMQ): the business people who need a punctual scheduled service, the tourists from Europe and other African countries who enjoy the special West African hospitality, the friends and families working in Europe who want to visit home."
February 2013: Gambia Bird Airlines (GMQ) will launch 2X-weekly, Accra - Bamako service from March.
March 2013: Gambia Bird Airlines (GMQ) inaugurated services on the route from its Accra (ACC) base to Bamako (BKO) in Mali on 5 March. (GMQ) now operates a total of twice-weekly flights on this new route. All services are carried out using A319s.
May 2013: Germania ((IATA) Code ST, based at Berlin Tegel (TXL)) (GER) is set to redeploy its A319-112 (4663, D-ASTA), onto its network over the summer. (D-ASTA) had been used by the (GER)'s Gambian venture, Gambia Bird (3G, Banjul International (BJL)) (GMQ), until it was withdrawn from service and returned to Germany. This now leaves Gambia Bird (GMQ) with only one airplane, A319-112 (4691, D-ASTB) with a second airplane due to join it again next winter.
March 2014: Gambia Bird (GMQ) has postponed the launch of flights to Conakry from Dakar and Bissau following reports of an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Guinean capital. The routes were to launched on March 30.
Thomas Wazinski, (CEO), Gambia Bird Airlines (GMQ), said: “The launch on March 30th of our new services to/from Bissau, in Guinea Bissau, Lagos, in Nigeria, and Douala, in Cameroon, will proceed as planned," he said. “We will continue to liaise with the authorities in Conakry and will advise of the revised launch date as soon as possible.”
Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) is a viral haemorrhagic fever and one of the most virulent viral diseases known to man. It was first identified in the western equatorial province of Sudan and in a nearby region of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1976.
(GMQ) had planned to launch two flights per week from Bissau and Dakar to Conakry using its A319-100s.
(GMQ) operates 3 airplanes, and serves 11 countries, 11 destinations, 26 routes, and 7 daily flights.
August 2014: Gambia Bird (GMQ) has been banned from serving Nigeria after Nigerian authorities (NCAA) claimed the airline had not done enough to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. The Germania (RFG) subsidiary has served Lagos from Accra, Banjul, Dakar, Douala, Freetown, and Monrovia Roberts.
"The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has reviewed the measures put in place by your airline as contained in your letter of July 30th, 2014 and have found these measures unsatisfactory," a (NCAA) letter read. "Consequently, your flights into Nigeria have been temporarily suspended with immediate effect until such a time that you are able to put in place acceptable and satisfactory measures."
Earlier this month, ASKY Airlines (AKY) was similarly banned from serving Lagos after a Liberian national, infected with the virus, was found to have arrived in the country on board one of its flights. However, the ban was subsequently overturned, when (AKY) airline management successfully showed that adequate protective measures were being taken.
Government in the region have begun to respond to the outbreak.
The Gambian government has once more directed Gambia Bird (GMQ), Royal Air Maroc (RAM), Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), and Nigeria's Arik Air (AKI) to cease their respective onward services from Conakry, Freetown, and Monrovia to Banjul with immediate effect. The Ivory Coast has taken a similar step with both government and Air Côte d'Ivoire ((IATA) Code HF, vased at Abidjan) (VRE) banning all flights to and from affected countries.
With 1,779 confirmed cases and 961 people having died from the virus, West African health officials have now tracked the outbreak's Patient Zero to have been a two-year-old boy who died in Guéckédou, a village in southeastern Guinea, on December 6 last year.
October 2014: Banjul-based, Gambia Bird Airlines (GMQ) has been forced to postpone its planned resumption of flights between London and the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown following the UK Department for Transport’s (DfT) decision to revoke (GMQ)’s permit for direct flights between the two cities.
Gambia Bird (GMQ) said the reason given by the (DfT) for its decision was the deteriorating public health situation in Sierra Leone. (GMQ) said: “The decision takes immediate effect and stands until further notice.”
Earlier this month, Gambia Bird (GMQ) announced plans to reinstate its Freetown - London service, following “extensive discussions with government bodies and civil aviation authorities, which have recognized the extensive safeguards put in place by Gambia Bird Airlines (GMQ) to protect the health and well-being of passengers and crew.” (GMQ) said it also aimed to support the delivery of essential humanitarian aid and the recovery of the business sector in West Africa.
At that time, (GMQ) (CEO), Thomas Wazinski said: “It is vital that humanitarian aid, and the experts needed to deliver it, have reliable access to Sierra Leone in order to deal effectively with the current situation. It is also extremely important that the country’s economy is given every opportunity to recover and that international businesses are able to contribute to that recovery by being able to travel to and from Freetown.”
He said (GMQ) had been working closely with Sierra Leone government agencies, as well as (DfT), Public Health Service and aviation authorities in the UK to ensure that all possible measures were in place to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. Airline staff has been provided with comprehensive UK Public Health Service-compliant Ebola guidance procedures and directives to identify potential health risks. In addition, its airplanes are subject to intensive disinfection, both in-flight and on arrival.
Gambia Bird (GMQ) said its flights to Banjul, Dakar and Accra were unaffected.
The airline suspended all flights to Freetown and Monrovia (Liberia) earlier this year because of the deteriorating health situation in both countries, and said it would keep its network under constant review over coming weeks.
December 2014: Gambia Bird ((IATA) Code: 3G, based at Banjul) (GMQ) has suspended flight operations effective immediately, it has announced in a statement issued earlier today. The Gambian subsidiary of German carrier Germania (GER) ((IATA) Code: ST, based at Berlin Schönefeld) (GER) used a single A319-112 (4663, D-ASTA) wet-leased from its German parent for scheduled services from Banjul to Accra, via Dakar, as well as to Barcelona El Prat and London Gatwick.
Gambia Bird (GMQ) did not give any reasons for the suspension of flight operations "until further notice." It has, however, reasssured passengers in its written statement that all unused tickets would be fully refunded. (GMQ) had previously been forced to cancel several of its routes due to a lack of demand and because of health concerns due to the Ebola outbreak in neighboring countries.