Officials of Ghana International Airline (GIA) have denied reports that a delay in its flight schedule last Monday was the result of the airline being indebted to Ryan International, an aircraft leasing company.
According to them, the delay was caused by shortage of aviation fuel at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) on Monday night (April 3), which subsequently delayed other activities of the airline, both at Gatwick and in Accra.
The Vice-President of Corporate and Public Affairs of the GIA, Mr Sammy Crabbe, who denied the reports, said although GIA, like any other business entity, owed some of its creditors, that did not cause the delay in its flight schedule.
He added that because the Monday flight was delayed in Accra, it affected that of Gatwick, in the end affecting the food served on the flights. Therefore, the caterers had to prepare another food which also delayed the flight.
Mr Crabbe also made it known that the delay was further compounded by an air traffic control problem in France, which needed to be sorted out before the plane could fly over that destination.
The Head of Corporate Affairs of the GIA, Mr Kwaku Kwafo Apeadu, who is currently in London trying to salvage the situation, said by the contract the GIA signed with Ryan International, it paid almost $1.3 million every month for the leased Boeing 757-200, which it had used on the Accra-Gatwick-Accra route daily since its inception on October 29, 2005.
He said GIA ensured that it paid the amount at the beginning of every month and had so far paid $400,000 for this month (April) and would pay the remaining $900,000 by the end of this week.
He added that the situation had led to a backlog of passengers, both in Accra and Gatwick. He, however, gave the assurance that those problems would be sorted out in the next three days.
Mr Apeadu added that so far, the first batch of passengers had been dispatched on Wednesday's flight to Accra, while the others, who were still stranded, had been provided with accommodation in Accra and in the Hilton Hotel at Gatwick.