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20.08.2013 Business & Finance

KLM upbeat about Ghana's aviation industry

By Daily Graphic
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The Regional Manager for KLM Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Mr Axel Metselaar, said Ghana had a better chance to make its aviation industry the hub of the West African sub-region for which

The airline, which has been operating into Ghana for 55 years, is currently the second largest carrier into the country in terms of arriving and departing passengers at the Kotoka International Airport.

The Regional head said Ghana had friendly people, tourist destinations which need to be developed as well as a peaceful and stable environment which gave it a head start over its peers in the West African sub-region.

'The industry is still a way to go in terms of attracting large arrivals for the country. It is still a select group which comes to Ghana for social work, including young students who want to experience different cultures,' Mr Metselaar told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra on August 14 shortly after meeting a section of the media to brief them about the airline's operations.

He expressed the hope that in the future the country could develop a few more of its tourist attractions to buoy up the aviation industry and the economy of the country.

KLM has remained one of the world's leading and innovative airlines which keep making inroads for many years. The airline was the first to pilot the use of biofuel in its aviation engines and currently operates its Amsterdam-New York route 100 per cent on biofuel.

The airline was also the first to link its booking and check-in platform with social media networks such as Facebook to offer convenient and door-step services to its customers. This facility also allows passengers to choose seats according to persons or personalities they prefer to sit with.

'For instance, you can select to sit by someone with interest in investment in Ghana or West Africa and the system allows this grouping for easy identification and selection,' Mr Metselaar explained.

The regional head said the airline had significantly transformed its travel experience across the globe and that was also being enjoyed by its passengers that travel from Accra.

About two years ago, KLM was flying a huge MD11 aircraft to Ghana which took more passengers and was rugged in the air. It went on to introduce the Boeing 777, a modern aircraft and now flies an Airbus A330-300 series, one of its newest aircraft, to Accra.

From last month, KLM started a scheduled refurbishment of its fleet with new seats and other offerings that gave an all-new experience to passengers.

'KLM's Boeing 747-400 will be the first aircraft to be refurbished. The entire 747 fleet of 22 will be redecorated by April 2014 and work on KLM's 15 B777-200s is planned for the summer of 2014,' Mr Metselaar said.

He said the refurbished aircraft would have new KLM World Business Class seats which could stretch to be full flat beds, with additional storage space with more privacy and a welcoming interior design.

By Samuel Doe Ablordeppey /Graphic Business / Ghana

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