Government convenes meeting to determine future of GIA

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Transport Minister Mike Hammah has convened a meeting to discuss the future of the national carrier, Ghana International Airlines.

The meeting on Tuesday follows an unexplained suspension in the airline’s operations last Thursday leaving several passengers stranded.

GIA’s financial difficulties have worsened since government stopped its monthly injection of a $1.5 million lifeline to the airline.

Airline authorities have been tightlipped about the circumstances leading to the recent grounding of their aircraft.

But Joy Business sources say it is linked to the default on its lease.

Government is a majority shareholder in the company with 70 percent stake whilst a US consortium GIA-USA has 30 percent.

There have been speculations about whether government would want the airline to die a natural death whilst it focuses on setting up another national carrier.

In December last year, sector minister Mike Hammah confirmed to Joy Business the establishment of new national carrier he says should become operational by the close of this year.

According to him, cabinet has already approved a roadmap for the introduction of the carrier to be jointly financed by government and a private operator.

Government has indicated it prefers a partner that has a strong regional presence and attractive international routes.

But Mr. Hammah says government is treading cautiously to ensure mistakes of the past are not repeated.

Analysts however say government must necessarily come out and make its decision on GIA known to put to rest, lingering doubts about the airline’s future.

Otherwise, they warn, the second carrier could suffer a lack of customer confidence even before it gets off the ground.