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17.10.2005 General News

Strike by cargo workers grounds flights

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Accra, Oct. 17, GNA - Ground operations at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) were disrupted for several hours on Monday evening as a result of a strike by workers of Aviance Company, the ground handling operators over pay.

The workers disabled the high loaders, gangway and other instruments making it impossible for passengers to disembark and their luggage offloaded mechanically onto the conveyor belt.

When Lufthansa and Kenya Airways flights arrived within 20 minutes after each other a little after 1700 hours, passengers had to stay on board for 45 minutes before the management of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) organised its security staff to assist.

The GCAA security had to push the gangway to the entrance of the plane to allow passengers to disembark and had to do manual offloading of luggage delaying the departure of the planes.

Lufthansa used its own pickup trucks to convey luggage from the aircraft to the conveyor belt.

The problem became pronounced with the arrival of the KLM flight, which had a large baggage hold and the GCAA security could not do manual offloading.

The passengers were therefore asked to report on Tuesday to collect their luggage.

A senior official of GCAA told the GNA that normally an airline was allowed four hours on the ground after landing and thereafter pay for the extra time.

"However, in this case we will not be able to charge any extra for airline operators for staying more than the stipulated four hours," he said.

Some high-ranking government officials, including the Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani and the management of GCAA were reported to be involved in talks with the management and workers of Aviance.

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