Ghana Airways has now secured a Boeing 767 aircraft to clear the backlog of passengers whose flights have been delayed since Sunday 8 August. The agreement for the short lease aircraft was signed last night, but not in time to start flying.
The aircraft will therefore be positioned in Accra on Monday 16 August to commence airlifting the stranded passengers both in Accra and London. Once the aircraft is in place, the movement of the passengers will proceed in the order in which they were supposed to have traveled either out of Accra or London. Thus the airline will undertake a shuttle service for its European routes until all the stranded passengers are cleared before revering to its usual three times a week flight to and from London on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Roger Allotey, Ghana Airways manager for Europe, reiterated the unreserved apology rendered to the numerous customers of the airline for the inconvenience caused by the disruption in their travel plans.
He explained that the problem was first caused by the airline's only DC-10 aircraft developing a technical fault following the outward flight from London on Wednesday 4 August. A decision was taken to lease a replacement aircraft from Germany. However the UK Department of Transport expressed reservations about the documentation of the aircraft and thus refused to grant landing rights. Negotiations for another lease also fell through as late as 8.30 pm on Friday 6 August, by which time it was too late to do anything until the following Monday.
On Monday 9 August, the airline could only secure a-223-seater Boeing 757 for one flight, which eventually left London Gatwick at dawn on Wednesday 11 August, carrying the passengers who had been stranded in London since Friday 6 August. It returned to London from Accra with another group of stranded passengers the following day.
The problem of leasing aircraft in the summer, a peak holiday season in Europe, has been compounded by the good weather being enjoyed in Europe, thus making everyone wanting to travel and thus making the availability of aircraft lease difficult.
The journey times for the shuttle service will be confirmed on Monday, once the Boeing 767 is positioned in Accra. The London office of Ghana Airways has earmarked a special telephone line to handle all enquiries on 020 7491 3802.