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14.08.2004 General News

Ghanair: Govt delay seriously dents image of Ghana

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President of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) says government should have acted early enough to bring some sanity in the ailing national carrier, Ghana Airways.

Mr. Kojo Yankah says government's delay in intervening in the predicament of the national airline in the past two weeks has seriously dented the image of Ghana.

There was over two weeks of drama at the Kotoka International Airport after Ghana Airways cancelled a number of flights, frustrating scores of its passengers.

Passengers travelling to London and Dusseldorf held some staff of the airline hostage for cancelling their flights unduly.

The story of the stranded passengers has attracted the attention of the international media creating some bad image for the airline.

Government on Thursday announced the dissolution of the airline's board of directors and the management team and replaced it with a four-member task force.

The task force headed by an aviation consultant will see to the day-to-day running of the airline and will report directly to the government.

According to a statement issued by the Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpianim, the decision to dissolve the board is to prevent any further deterioration of the Ghana Airways crisis

But the IPR president told JoyNews that the issue travelled beyond the airline's ability and government should have intervened early enough to salvage the image of the country.

“Government should have acted early enough. When you have a business interest owned largely by government and it is in trouble you don't; leave it on its own to fix the problem, it is not right”, Mr. Yankah said.

Mr. Yankah said Ghanaians therefore have a responsibility to redeem the country's image.

“It is not just the IPR which has to work to salvage the nations image as a result of the disrepair caused by Ghana Airways. We all have to be involved,” he said.

Government has also assumed responsibility for the airline's outstanding debt of about 160 million dollars and will negotiate with both domestic and foreign creditors to restructure repayment.

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