Sentra Airways: Bizarre, Questionable New “Airline”

Filed Under: Other Airlines

I’m a sucker for airline startups, whether legitimate, or just someone spending a few hours (or several years) to create a website for a business model that makes no sense. I’ll let you guys guess which category this fits into…

Sentra Airways to fly from Manchester to Accra

Sentra Airways claims to be launching nonstop flights between Manchester and Accra as of September 9, 2021. The airline plans to operate the route 6x weekly, with the exception of Fridays. Up until a few days ago the airline was supposed to launch on May 1, 2021, but that has been postponed due to coronavirus.

No details have been announced about what plane the airline will use and what the business model will be, and for that matter there have been no filings with aviation authorities in the UK or Ghana.

Sentra Airways’ single page website promotes how you can “have breakfast in New York, lunch in Manchester and supper in Accra.” I have questions:

  • Breakfast in New York and lunch in Manchester? With a five hour time change and seven hour flight, are we having a really early breakfast and a really late lunch, or..?
  • There are no daytime flights between New York and Manchester
  • Why though?

As it’s explained, Accra is the “unofficial, official gateway to West Africa, especially to Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal, Gambia and Southern parts of Africa.”

You can register your email address with the “airline” and then you’ll be sent a discount code for 10% off your first flight.

The company’s social media presence is also interesting, promoting on Instagram how you can see “see Ghana in vivid detail with Sentra Airways,” while showing a picture of Mount Fuji.

So yeah, now you know everything I know.

There’s only one slight problem…

Okay, actually there’s more than one problem, like the airline not actually existing. But let’s for a second pretend this was serious. The reality is that Manchester to Accra isn’t a big market at all:

  • Manchester has a rather small Ghanian population (in 2012 there were estimated to be 1,400 Ghanians in the city)
  • Pre-coronavirus there were just over a dozen people per day flying between the two city pairs, so that’s not sufficient demand to justify a flight
  • It’s one thing if the “airline” were promising a regional network within Africa, but the “airline” doesn’t have any partnerships, so that’s not happening either

All of this points at the person behind this airline primarily having ties to the Manchester area. And indeed that seems to be the case, since the company was registered in Bradford in 2019.

If you’re going to make up a random airline, can’t you at least make it an interesting or sexy concept? Like, how about 787s in an all first class configuration with a swimming pool flying between London and Accra (sexy), or service exclusively between Manchester and Dublin on A380s (interesting), maybe calling it Mandub Airways, taking inspiration from Baltia?

Why do so many “airlines” want to fly to Ghana?

This is the third “airline” in a short period planning on launching flights to Ghana.

There was Global Ghana Airlines, which was supposed to fly nonstop between Chicago and Accra…

Then there’s Goldstar Air, which is continuing to promise an unrivaled global route network…

Who wouldn’t want to fly from Abidjan, Brazil, to Dakar, South Carolina?

What’s most interesting is that the people behind these airlines are largely not actually in Ghana. The person behind Global Ghana Airlines lived in the US, while the person behind Sentra Airways lives in the UK. Yet both airlines wanted to launch a single long haul route, to Accra.

Bottom line

Sentra Airways claims that it will start flying between Manchester and Accra as of September 2021. There’s no further info about the airline, like what plane will be used, or how any of this makes sense.

If you’re going to come up with an airline that operates just one route, maybe make pick a market that actually has demand?

(Tip of the hat to @KobiAnnan87)

  1. Their IG posts are very interesting too. Like for example, see cherry blossoms in Accra with a picture of Mt.Fuji…

  2. “No details have been announced about what plane the airline will use …”

    Ben, it’s right there in the name of the airline. They will use a very small Nissan car.

  3. If they are joining the travel industry they should know that no one is traveling to Manchester for the food…

    That picture of Gold Star Airways with the oddly cropped/resized plane makes me laugh every time.

  4. Ben, I agree this is bizarre and has a whiff of illegitimacy, like it’s some kind of investment fraud scheme for unsophisticated Ghanians who might want a piece of a new “airline.” It makes zero business sense.

  5. Wow what a map, so Baltimore happens to be in Wisconsin or something 🙂

    Should bring this map to my child’s geography class!

  6. How did Goldstar Airlines get every single city location so so wrong (except Accra and Dubai, and to a lesser extent Lagos and Abuja)? Chicago is going to be upset that it is now Baltimore Washington.

  7. Just another scam, I don’t why all of this airlines have something to do with Ghana, maybe is some kind of tax haven?

  8. @DianeJ

    To be fair, the direction of every one of those lines for the Goldstar graphic do seem to point toward the right general direction.

    It’s almost like someone drew all the lines, then determined the city name text wouldn’t fit attractively or evenly, and decided to rearrange everything later.

  9. Seems to be a scam

    They registered as a U.K. business per the Companies House website in March 2019 Their head office is in Bradford, West Yorkshire, not Ghana. Their last accounts were March 2020

    Previous company name : majestic mallard airways 25 March 2019-January 2020

  10. @Asarious

    I’m so confused by your post? So Sierra Leone, Guinea, Gambia, etc. are actually in the Americas? And Guangzhou is really located in the Mideast?

    Or are you saying that the true locations of those cities are somewhere along the lines they drew. Then apparently Guangzhou is in northern Russia someplace. Huh. Who knew?

  11. LOL @ “The company’s social media presence is also interesting, promoting on Instagram how you can see “see Ghana in vivid detail with Sentra Airways,” while showing a picture of Mount Fuji.”

  12. @DianeJ

    What you’ve described is essentially what I meant.

    Sao Paulo is at least southwest from Accra on the map. Baltimore is to the northwest. Monrovia is to the west, and Lagos is to the east.

    Guangzhou is the destination with the most obviously incorrect heading to me. However, I imagine that’s due to spacing reasons on the map.

    What really bugs me is that Baltimore/Washington and Gatwick/London aren’t called out as being part of the USA.

  13. So does anyone know what the play here is exactly? Why are these fake airlines cropping up (and why does Ghana attract so many of them)? Is it a scam or money laundering or what?

  14. @David we’re one of the largest countries in West Africa (around 30 million) with a large diaspora population but no national carrier. The only direct service between Ghana and the U.K., where around 300,000 people of Ghanaian decent live, is provided by BA who offer a p**s poor and overpriced service that I believe Ben wrote about many years ago.

    So people are trying to fill that void but they are unfortunately either total imbeciles or total scam artists.

  15. Why do so many “airlines” want to fly to Ghana?
    You have this headline but the text below doe snot answer that.

  16. Any possibility this is a project for a college course? I can see a Professor (perhaps from Ghana) assigning as one option – “Create a business plan and web presence for a new airline offering to Ghana.” 😉

  17. I am the accountable manager for Sentra Airways. The only scam here deliberately misrepresenting us is the author of this article.
    The company has applied for AOC and AOL from the U.K authorities it also has a pending VAOC with the Ghanaian authorities. Contrarily to what is stated in the article.
    We were scheduled to start ops this May since March of last year when we started the AOC process with the U.K CAA.
    The global pandemic happened, and we had no choice to postpone our plans until Sept 21.
    The pax from Man Acc is 45000 yearly as at 2019 data. double check your facts next time.
    Heathrow- Acc is 195000 per annum of which 70% are pulled pax.
    So, there are plenty of pax ready to use our service.
    Pull basically means people travelling to London to use the direct services.
    Our services will not be opened to just pax around man area but to all.
    May be the author to concentrate on what he is good at.
    BTW, we have A330-200 dry lease with Orix signed and sealed yet to be delivered.
    The company currently has several SM adverts to trying to get the name out there.
    Mount fuji is beside the point. The message drummed across is direct services from Man to ACC. Pictures to the busy working people is irrelevant as we noted from the advert which is generating not less than 100 traffic to our website. Just what we want!

    New York route to be launched after Man-ACC.
    It was our intentions to do all at a go but the U.K CAA recommended one step at a time hence why we are not yet launching our NY route.

  18. Kobi you stated
    ‘So people are trying to fill that void but they are unfortunately either total imbeciles or total scam artists’
    Really? how can you be so judgmental about people you do not know or never met?
    Social Media surely have interesting people with special skills set only suitable for SM.

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