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15.12.2002 Feature Article

Save Ghana Airways and Ghana from emerging cartel.

Save Ghana Airways and Ghana from emerging cartel.
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As Ghana Airways and Nationwide Airlines conclude their takeover, Ghanaians should be aware this takeover could have far-reaching implications beyond provisions currently under protest. Even though the government’s intentions for this takeover are fair and apparently the only feasible alternative to salvage Ghana Airways, there are long term social and economic implications, if this takeover is not well-drafted to safeguard, the entire Ghanaian economy against aviation’s emerging global oligopoly and cartel. While full details of the takeover deal between Ghana Airways and Nationwide Airlines remain ongoing and classified, policy makers are convinced it’s outcome will keep the national airline flying. Immediate concerns over job security for Ghanaians, loss of national identity and lowering of safety standards, the paramount concern, logically these will fade, and be long forgotten once the takeover goes into effect. However today’s dynamic aviation environment presents far reaching challenges and consequences, which could hit the nerve cell of the entire Ghanaian economy, as a result of a bad deal. Global airline deregulation and the resulting emergence of several airlines, continues to evolve, with new and frightening trends of bankruptcies, mergers, consolidations and consequent signs of emerging oligopolies, where few carriers are bound to control global aviation, leading to strong and powerful cartels. In light of these scary trends several industrialized and developing nations have emphatically laid firewalls against the possible dominance by these emerging aviation oligopolies and cartels. Several nations have deep rooted aviation policy on joint ventures, mergers, and takeovers to include among other things, the sunset clause, which stipulates how long a foreign airline or company would be involved in another nation’s aviation industry. Typically 4-6 years. Second will be the percentage share a foreign airline would have in another nations airline. Typically up to 49 percent with the composition of it’s board of directors to include at least a two-third majority of its citizens, and ensuring the airlines head offices remains in the nation. The Keating labor Qantas Sale Act of Australia would be a perfect model for this most important deal between Ghana Airways and Nationwide Airlines While instant gratification stares at us, policy makers and parliament need to look beyond the horizon and adopt policy measures that will among other things protect Ghana’s infant aviation industry for Ghanaians, stimulate air transportation, tourism and overall social economic development through a solid aviation base. Asiwome O. Dzakuma FAA Licensed Commercial Pilot

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