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29.06.2005 Business & Finance

Akwaaba Airline Explains

Black Star Travel & Tours/akwaabair.com

The aftermath of Ghana Airways has seen many major airlines used and abused Ghanaian travelers with high air fares, strict restrictions and horrible customer service, uncomfortable seating and leg room. Many in the diaspora have complained about it and some have decided not to travel for a while as a result of their experiences unless there are airlines which understand the needs of the Ghanaian traveler.

Many have been dying for direct flights with great management and excellent customer service. As the creator answers prayers, Akwaaba Airlines surfaced and started advertising on various web sites. At the same time, North American Airlines were also planning to fly direct to Ghana and approached the community leaders to inform them about their services.

Many Ghanaians wondered who the operators of Akwaaba were and whether the airline does exist. No one knew any representation of Akwaaba Airlines. Then came the news release from the Canadian Transportation Authority (CTA) that Akwaaba Airlines of North America which is in partnership with Ahenfo Airlines Ltd of Ghana does not have any authority to operate in Canada nor does have authority to sell tickets. The news became somewhat confusing to the community and whether a 419 scam has been intercepted or unearthed. The question many asked was who operated Akwaaba Airlines and whether they really existed.

The representatives of Ahenfo/Akwaaba Airlines immediately wanted to set the records straight and with the efforts of Mr. Klenam Anatsui, Public Relations Manager of Black Star Travel and Tours put together all the necessary information needed for the Ghanaian community to know.

Akwaaba Airlines is putting this statement out to tell the community what their operations are what they are doing to offer the community excellent service.

Present at the interview was Mr. Thomas Nyarko, CEO of Black Star Travel and Tours who earlier had reached an agreement with Ahenfo/Akwaaba Airlines as an official travel agent.

Mr. Kingsley Whyte, CEO of Ahenfo/Akwaaba Airlines expressed his shock upon hearing of Ahenfo/Akwaaba's non existence. Q: Why the press-release was sent and what should be told to the community? Answer: "There is no doubt that if you go to Ghana, today and ask about Ahenfo Airlines, if you speak to any Government official, they will tell you we are an airline, Ahenfo Airlines is a licensed air carrier for the Toronto, Newark, Accra route, A copy of their licensed can be found on their web site, front page, left hand column, you will see ATOL - www.akwaabaair.com ". It is an international airline recognized by everybody in the world, issued by the government called ATOL. Anyone who is interested can call the Ghana Civil Aviation or Ghana Tourist Board to validate their license.

In North America they operate in an agreement with Worldwide Charters, a US based company with a US based license to operate from North America.

He continued that "The misunderstanding which has created this press release from the CTA was a document that they should have filed with their partners, Worldwide Charters which gives them authority to pass Canada because of their Toronto-Newark-Accra operations. But this application was not filed on time. (It is something normal) and unfortunately has been exploited by those who want spread fear about Ahenfo/Akwaaba Airlines' operations.

But they are expediting matters to file for that application to avoid any future news release.

Ask whether this news release from CTA is hurting their business, he said;

"Akwaaba exists because of the nature of transportation system of West Africans that exist in America. Sunday, June 18th was the beginning of a high season, if one purchases a ticket from Canada to Ghana it will cost $2,500 to make the trip that in reality only cost $1100 to operate. The prices are controlled by very powerful airlines and very powerful consolidators who want to maintain the system so they can keep abusing these people and charging them unnecessary rates just to transit to their countries.

In assuring the public, Mr. Whyte mentioned that they are in a competition because they are here to take the market from those major airlines. The competitors know it and have seen that Akwaaba is very popular and people like their product and their price. People like the fact that it is a new aircraft, only a few years old, the seat configuration, the comfort and the reliability will be very good with Akwaaba Airlines"

Mr. Whyte said, this is all part of the system trying to essentially keep Akwaaba Airlines from even taking off at all. There are people who have told Akwaaba Airlines that when they called the CTA, the CTA mentioned that Akwaaba/Ahenfo Airlines don't even exist.

"The CTA knows they exist and they have mentioned them in their publications that they have written to us and we have responded. We have received such a huge amount of interest in the program and this is why we are having these problems, when we came to the market place, we did not give privileges to people, we treat everybody the same, we have a fix price, we don't change our prices once we set them and it is an affordable price, under the old system, there are airlines and consolidators, the airlines gives the consolidators privileges, the consolidators put the prices out there at any rate they want to put out there, they gauge the market and put it in a frenzy. Every summer prices go up to ridiculous levels and when they come down, people don't understand why the price for the same flight to the same place changes".

Mr. Cudjoe Dorkenoo, Marketing Director of Ahenfo/Akwaaba Airlines also stressed that it was unfortunate there is a mishap in their operation and they are working hard to resolve the issue with the CTA. In the meantime, their Newark-Accra direct flight is on schedule.

Mr. Anatsui also remarked by making a reference to Coca Cola not undermining Pepsi offering the same product. In the end the consumer will have a choice as to who fits their needs. He said he is proud that the Ghanaian traveler now has a choice as who they should use for their traveling plans based on price and services, which is a great thing for the community. It is their job as an official travel agent of Akwaaba Airlines to strategically offer better services and the traveller will sell their best price and the excellent service to others.

The Ghanaian community now waits to see what Akwaaba delivers.

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