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04.09.2003 General News

More Bad News For Ghanair, but....

By JOY ONLINE
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... CEO Sure Of Reviving The Airline The Chief Executive of Ghana Airways, Phillip Owusu has confirmed claims by Aviation experts that two DC-9 aircrafts recently leased for its West Coast operations are not fuel-efficient. Aviation experts say the leased DC-9 planes are as bad as the airline’s old DC-10 aircraft that has been sent for repairs in Italy. This situation, according to them is adding extra cost to the already huge debt of the airline.

But the Chief Executive, Phillip Owusu told JOY FM that the leasing of the aircraft is a short-term measure and also cost effective.

“The DC-9’s that we leased to cover our operations are not fuel effective, this is true, our long term objective, in about the next six months is to acquire new aircrafts but in the short term … we have to maintain our positions”. He also explained that the Airline’s pilots have been trained to fly DC-9 and DC-10 so it was just prudent to lease aircrafts that they could fly.

Commenting on the operational problems of Ghana Airways, Mr Owusu said it is not unusual in the aviation industry to have airlines go through turbulent times as is being experienced by the national carrier.

According to him, most of the airlines that are being used to compare Ghanair now went through turbulent times before regaining their feet. Ghanair therefore hopes to learn from their experiences and change its destiny.

The Airline’s debt, which, stood at $150 million last year, has risen to $160 million in 2003. Mr Owusu explained that the debt accumulated over the last 45 years. Ghana Airways is currently exploring the possibility of restructuring its loans. The Chief Executive said part of the loan has to be absorbed by shareholders and by Banks over a long term period.

A former legal counsel of Ghana Airways, Nana Frema Busia recently called for liquidation of the airline saying it had been badly managed resulting in huge debts, but Mr Owusu was hopeful that the future of the airline was not as bleak as some would want Ghanaians to believe. “I am working towards the restructuring of Ghanair. I am going to make it a very viable and prosperous airline”, he noted.

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