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01.11.2005 Diaspora News

NCOGA Hosts Emirates Officials

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On October 14, 2005, three representatives ( Mr. Akbar Hussain, Manager of Special Markets-USA, Ms. Renate Graham Leisure Manager and Ms. Maria Fernandez) from the Emirates Airlines met with leaders of the Ghanaian Community at the Ghana Mission to present new improved service that they are tailoring to the Ghanaian community and also to get feedback from the community about their services. The information session was well attended by a cross section of the varied community leaders in the Ghanaian community, including the Consul General.

According to the presentation, beginning in November, Emirates Airlines plans to operate two daily flights from New York to Dubai and 2 weekly flights from Dubai to Accra directly, and not routed through Lagos as operated currently. This direct flight to Accra is designed to alleviate the burden of longer and indirect route that Ghanaian travelers face and to provide them with a less cumbersome alternative. The two daily flights from New York will be at 9:00 in the morning and again at 11:00 at night. Emirates Airlines promises to pay for hotel accommodation in the event there is a considerable lag in connecting flights and time between Dubai and Accra. Currently, there is a 40 minute lag between the arrival from New York to Dubai and departure from Dubai to Accra. Since the FAA mandates a 45 minutes connecting time, most people on the arrival flight might not make their connecting flight, necessitating a layover which the Emirates Airlines will be responsible for. However, they are working with the authorities here in New York to push the departure time back by five minutes in order to make the 45 minute time. Emirates Airlines is now happy to announce that, starting January 2006 the connecting flight from Dubai to Accra is 45 minutes upon arrival.

The maximum allowable luggage is two (2) 50 pounds suitcases which is now an industry-wide standard and FAA mandated. However, Emirates Airlines plans to accept unlimited excess baggage as long as passenger pays for them. On the issue of direct flight between New York and Accra, Emirates Airlines responds that the route selection has to be done through agreements between respective authorities in both countries and Emirates Airlines will be exploring that option and once authorized, will be glad to ply that route. They are encouraging traveling and transiting through their country to take advantage of the varied amenities and cosmopolitan allure of Dubai as the gateway to the Middle East. They encourage Ghanaians to consider Emirates Airlines as a vacation destination and sample the hospitality that their country is noted for.

Most Ghanaians in the audience testified to the extraordinary service that Emirates Airlines provided during their flight and encouraged others to take advantage of the improved services by Emirates Airlines. Community leaders were charged with the responsibility of educating their respective associations and also alert them to the importance of timeliness for flight departures. Finally, Emirates Airlines promised to participate in any activities going on in the community as sponsors or any occasion to present their services to member associations will be welcomed. Kudos to NCOGA and its Board of Directors for putting this event together.

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