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Business News of Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Source: --

GIA?s $55m For Ghana Airways In?

Owners of GIA, the strategic partners for Ghana Airways, arrived in the country last week with $55million to get the national airline fully back in the air, a senior aviation source said. The cash, which is to be lodged at the Standard Chartered bank is the contractual requirement of the Ralph Atkins-led GIA, which has acquired a 30 per cent stake in the state owned carrier.

Mr. Atkins arrived with the deputy CEO of GIA, Richard Kirk Heaton and Albert Vitale. Mr. Vitale will stay behind to secure an Airline Carrier Licence and an Airline Operations Certificate when the other two men leave on Friday. Between eight and ten aeroplanes, both wide and narrowed bodied are in the process of being secured.

Operations are scheduled to being the second quarter of 2005. pre-sale tickets for Africa, Europe and North America should start between March and April next year. The source further disclosed that GIA are looking at starting the recruitment exercise in January. ?Technically, the old employees of the airline are considered unemployed, the source said.

?The pilots, cabin crew and cargo handlers will be interviewed and employed based on performance,? the source disclosed, adding, ?the pilots will be retrained for the new aircrafts. Government has undertaken a valuation exercise of the assets of Ghana Airways with the view to convert hem into equity, which ads up to 70% in the new partnership.

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