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01.08.2005 Business & Finance

GIAL begins operation on Tuesday

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The Ghana International Airline Limited (GIAL) is to airlift its first batch of passengers by next Tuesday, subject to approval from the government.

Sources close to the airline hinted that the operations would begin with the Accra-Lagos-Accra route.

The sources said the start of the airline's operations follows the completion of a commercial code-sharing partnership agreement between it and other airlines to be named at the launch of the airline's operations.

According to the sources, GIAL is also making moves to partner other airlines such as Lufthansa and KLM soon in a code-sharing arrangement so as to widen its coverage, adding that this will increase the airline's flights to include other international routes such as London, Amsterdam and Dusseldorf.

The sources were, however, emphatic that GIAL was going to use its own aircraft to fly to London from October 29, 2005.

The sources were also definite that direct flights to the United States of America as well as Dusseldorf would begin by the end of this year and this, they said, was also going to be with GIAL's aircraft.

According to the sources, GIAL will announce non-stop flights to the European routes shortly together with partner airlines.

With regard to its partnership with Ethiopian Airlines, the sources said it would expand the airline's routes to other African countries.

The sources said these partnerships when sealed with other airlines would enable the GIAL to build a network for which there would be no competitor.

The sources added that the code-sharing arrangement would also make Accra the hub of the airline's business.

The Vice-President of Public Affairs for GIAL, Mr Samuel Crabbe, confirmed the programme and added "GIAL is excited that we will be able to announce our official launch next week together with the unveiling of our new corporate brand and logo".

He said: “our first round of recruitment saw over 4000 people applying for jobs and things are progressing very well".

Mr Sean Mendis, a Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr J. Ralph Artkins, added that "we have made good progress in finalizing our traffic rights and slots for flights to Lagos, London and Dusseldorf and we will have tickets on sale to the public very soon".

When it begins operations, GIAL will use a computerized software system, for which Radixx International has been contracted to provide computer reservation systems for a more effective and efficient system of record keeping.

Until it acquires its own aircraft, GIAL will sell tickets to prospective passengers on a partner aircraft, which is yet to be announced.

The sources, however, said the beginning of the airline's operations would be subject to government approval together with its partner airline, which was expected to be finalized by the end of the week.