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01.11.2005 Press Review

Editorial: First impressions mean everything

By Chronicle
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The new national carrier, Ghana International Airline (GIA), took to the skies last Saturday, on its maiden flight. The demise of Ghana Airways (Ghanair), which was the nation's flagship, did not happen by accident. It was the logically predictable result of consistent acts of commission and omission of persons placed in high places and tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the national interest.

Many Ghanaians are very pessimistic about the future of the new airline, since as far as they are concerned, the collapse of Ghanair, had much to do with interference by politicians and attitudes that may not have changed at all.

The appointment of board members, based on cronyism or nepotism as well as other recruitments down the line along those lines, has often left in its trail, in all areas that it has occurred, very disastrous consequences for the nation.

Breakdown of discipline, arising from these kinds of appointments, has been rife, as such relationships have stood in the way of enforcing discipline, and therefore adversely affected the productivity of many institutions.

These practices have persisted because politicians invariably see public institutions as extensions of their domain and therefore seek to hand down opportunities there to their relations, cronies and hangers on.

These things are done without much regard to what the final consequences of these actions would be.

For GIA to operate in an efficient and effective manner, there is the need for it to maintain very high standards. These high standards can only come from very qualified and competent management and staff. The quality of these cannot be compromised.

Even though there still remained some unanswered questions about how the airline came into being, to which we hope answers would be provided soon, it is our expectation that lessons would have been learnt from the Ghanair saga and the new airline would keep its nose pointing to the sky and not downward.

But it was very unfortunate and surprising at the same time that for its maiden flight, the Boeing 757 aircraft, leased by GIA was reported to have experienced a technical problem, as its luggage compartment failed to open, both at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra and at Gatwick in London.

It is inconceivable to think that what happened with the luggage compartment, described as, 'minor technical hitches' ought to be allowed to pass without serious explanations.

If the new airline's crew is indeed of the caliber that Ghana is noted for, under Ghanair, then we do not think there is a question regarding their competence at manipulating the aircraft.

That leaves us with the quality of the aircraft we have gone out there to lease. Even here, still, we believe the technical crew of GIA should have done some inspection of the aircraft before the due date of the maiden flight.

Either way one looked at it, it is highly unacceptable for the image of the nation under the new airline flying our flag, to have experienced any technical hitches – at least not on its maiden flight.

First impressions do not just mean anything; they mean everything!

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