Bringing back national carrier: We will be ‘third time lucky’- Dzifa Ativor

Government says events leading to the collapse of past national carriers will provide vital lessons in ongoing attempts to establish a third one.

Minister of Transport, Dzifa Ativor said government is hoping to be ‘third time lucky’ in guaranteeing the survival of the new airline as efforts are being made to ensure that, mistakes leading to the folding up of Ghana Airways and Ghana International Airline, are not repeated.

Bad management practices have largely to blame for the flop of the first carrier, Ghana Airways. This led to the formation of Ghana International Airline (GIA) in 2004 by the government, in partnership with a group of private international investors.

It commenced operations on 29 October 2005. The government of Ghana owned 70% of shares while the US consortium (GIA-USA) controlled 30%.

However, a protracted legal dispute by the shareholders in 2006 led to the eventual collapse of the airline.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Wednesday, Ms. Dzifa Ativor noted that, it is in the interest of the country that the defunct national airline is resuscitated to promote the national agenda of becoming the business hub of the West Africa sub region.

‘We need a national carrier to support our hub conceptto make sure that Ghana remains attractive to foreign direct investments,’ she said.

She assured that with the new public private partnership programme, government has decided to cede significant amount of shares to the private investor while it controls a ‘small interest’ which is yet to be determined by cabinet.

That notwithstanding, Ms. Ativor maintained ‘government will have a say in the running of the airline’.

Terminal 3 at KIA
She said expansion works at the Kotoka International Airport which includes the construction of a third terminal are to be completed by 2016, to cater for the ever increasing passenger stream. KIA, which was originally built to cater for 500 passengers a year, is now doing over 2 million, the Minister stated.

The Terminal 3 is expected to be ready for use by March 2014, Ms. Ativor disclosed.

Kumasi & Tamale Airports
Ms. Ativor further announced, travelers to the Ashanti Regional capital of Kumasi will be able to make night flights to and from the ‘Garden City’ by Christmas of this year.

Those who travel to and fro that part of the country by air hitherto, have to rush to catch their flights because the airlines do not operate at night.

With the installation of the ground lights almost complete, travelers will be able to go about their business and catch their flights without a rush, she assured.

She said a new runway is being constructed at the Tamale Airport as part of efforts to upgrade it into international status. This is because the existing runway does not have the capacity needed by large carriers to operate.

Other airstrips are being built in Ho and other parts of the country to facilitate domestic travels, she added.

The Minister said all these are in line with vision of President John Mahama in bringing air transport services to the doorstep of the people. 

  Story by Ghana | | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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