Business News of Friday, 25 January 2013
The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on Monday met with officials of Delta Airlines in a bid to resolve complaints from passengers, stemming from flight delays, cancellations and poor customer service.
The meeting, held at the GCAA Head Office, Accra, chaired by Air Commodore K-Mamphey (rtd), Director-General of the GCAA, was attended by senior Directors of the GCAA and two senior officials of Delta Airlines Inc; Mr. Robert Bryan, Commercial Director, East and West Africa and Mr. Pak-Wo Shum, Managing Director, Delta GSA, Ghana and Liberia.
A statement released by the GCAA said the airline has been facing passenger criticisms for flight cancellations and delays, amidst poor service on the United States – Accra routes.
The GCAA, which is the government’s official regulator on aviation, said it was compelled to summon Delta Airlines as its operations were critical to the growth of the aviation industry in Ghana, as well as contributing to the economic development of the country.
After the meeting, the critical issues arrived at include: Delta Airlines has within the last four days, stationed a Maintenance Engineer in Accra in a bid to resolve all technical hitches contributing to flight delays and cancellations.
It also noted that in the United States, these issues are also receiving a high level of attention with the formation of a committee, which has in turn appointed a senior staff to review all processes for the US – Accra departure, taking a critical look at patterns and details and the airline will send a Senior Maintenance Engineer to re-evaluate Delta’s local maintenance partners.
Others are Delta Airline is also endeavouring to get the aircraft with the re-configured seats back on the Accra route; however, air fares have been reduced to reflect the unavailability of this particular aircraft, customer complaints are being tracked by flight and crew to provide a more detailed analysis for quicker resolutions.
Others are all passengers, who have been affected by delays are duly compensated and the GCAA would increase the rate at which the Safety Audit of Foreign Aircrafts is conducted for the airline.
The Director General rebutted claims that the GCAA had joined forces with its Liberian counterparts to perform an audit on the airline, saying that GCAA was perfectly within its own rights to commission an audit if need be.
He acknowledged that although the issues discussed did not border on safety and security of the aircraft, it was imperative that the airline assured the travelling public of its commitment to the provision of reliable air transport services.
Officials of the airline also reiterated that the airline would endeavour to give the best service to passengers and that in no case had safety been compromised.
Air Cdre. Mamphey (rtd) said passengers were becoming increasingly aware of their rights and cautioned all airlines to quickly adapt to the changing environment” the statement concluded.
Last week, there were media reports that Liberia’s Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) had advised the country’s President and government officials against travelling by the American Airline due to frequent cancellations and intermittent technical problems.
The LCAA and the Ministry of Transport have also ordered a safety audit on the airline, which LCAA head, Richelieu Williams, said was based on the number of delays and cancellations of Delta flights to Liberia via Ghana for technical reasons.
Liberian Transport Minister, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, also said the LCAA and the GCAA had already written separate letters to the management of Delta Airlines, and alleged that they had agreed to conduct a joint safety audit on the American airline.
Since Delta resumed flights in 2010 to Liberia, following the end of the civil war, President Johnson Sirleaf and officials frequently used the carrier for travel to the United States.
Before the resumption, Liberians travelling to the United States had to go through to Brussels from where they boarded Brussels Airlines.
Delta flies directly to the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York from Liberia.