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07.07.2004 Business & Finance

Ghanair's sinking image - Transport ministry accused

By Chronicle
Ghanair's sinking image  - Transport ministry accused

The Ministry of Roads and Transport has been accused of doing little to resuscitate Ghana Airways from its numerous predicaments.

Speaking to The Chronicle at the weekend, Mr. Joe Barnes, a former employee of the company, said the ministry was partly to blame for the continued nose-diving of the airline since the NPP came into power.

However, Mr. Ken Anku, the Public Relations Officer of the ministry, debunked the accusations as baseless.

“Most of us at the ministry rather hold the view that the minister devotes too much time attending to Ghanair issues at the expense of other departments under the ministry,” he said.

“It is, therefore, very sad for somebody to accuse the minister, at this stage, of doing little to salvage the airline, despite all the efforts he is putting in to bring the airline back to its feet,” Anku told the paper on telephone in reaction to Barnes' attack.

He noted that it had always been the concern of the minister to do everything humanly possible to bring the glory of the airline back and had, therefore, assigned one of the deputy ministers at the ministry to be fully responsible for issues relating to the airline.

“It is only those, who do not want to appreciate the efforts and the sacrifices the minister is making towards the resuscitation of the airline, that accuse him of doing little to bring Ghanair back on its feet,” Mr. Anku told the paper.

He also described as untrue and baseless, a suggestion by Barnes that Dr. Richard Anane, the minister, had a personal interest in the nationwide deal and because it fell through, he was no more concerned about the progress of the airline.

Barnes told The Chronicle: “Ministers were appointed to steer the affairs of their sectors and correct all the imbalances that were going on in various departments under the previous regime. If till date, things are still going from bad to worse in some departments like what is happening at the Ghana Airways, then we must question whoever was assigned by the President to steer affairs in that department, what he /she is doing to salvage the situation.

“After over three years in office, if the sector minister cannot help find solution to the numerous problems confronting Ghanair, I think he must be removed or made to tell Ghanaians what he has so far done to save the airline,” Barnes said.

According to the retired staff, it was sad that the resources of this nation should be used to conduct forensic investigations into the rot in the airline, only for the report to be left to collect dust and to create an impression that some people in the airline were untouchable.

“The sector minister needs to tell this nation what has happened to the forensic report and why no action is being taken on it,” he said and added, “This will dismiss the notion that politicians wear the same coats.”

He said his investigations indicated that because of the resistance of the staff of the airline against imposition of the nationwide deal on the company, the minister seemed to have left the airline to its fate.

Supporting his argument, Barnes said at a certain stage, the government said the Italian government was willing to absolve Ghanair's debt into HIPC but nothing had since been heard.

He said the chartered aircraft that were being used by the airline were not helping its cause and suggested the need for the ministry to do everything possible to pay for the release of Ghanair's own aircraft that were sitting in Rome and continued to attract fees.

“For instance, my information is that the two DC9s, which were leased from Uganda African One, are giving Ghanair problems just like the DC10s.”

According to him, the DC9 aircraft had to be parked for days for repairs after doing the west coast trip.

He said the lease agreement on the DC10 was also not the best, adding that, due to the constant problems that the aircraft was posing, a First Officer Pilot to report MEL issues to Field Aviation Authorities in London, led to the impounding of one of the DC10s in London for days last month.

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