Feature Article of Friday, 21 September 2012
Columnist: Kwateng, J. F.
The13th of May 2012 was the second anniversary of the suspension of Ghana International Airlines Limited (GIAL) operations. The airline was the national airline of the Republic of Ghana and all passengers who paid money to the airline were promised a total refund by Mills NDC Govt. The Ghana Ministry of Transport was given the task two and half years and yet several passengers have still not received their refunds. The refund delay has added hardships to already frustrated and disappointed Ghanaians and foreigners and thrown dark shadow on future governments’ capability to operate another airline.
Following the announcement by the Ghana Government on the release of money to settle all refunds, GIAL victims are still upset by lack of further information. At the heat of GIAL suspension, a statement issued by the Ministry of Transport in March last year informed the public that “the government has settled all validated claims for refund of passengers and travelers who purchased tickets but could not travel on the defunct Ghana International Airlines Limited (GIAL)” Another statement issued in March 2012 by the Ministry of Transport in Accra also informed the public that “the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, under the directive of President John Evans Atta Mills, had released GH¢1,306,077.89 for the settlement of the remaining validated claims.” Reports published in a section of the Ghanaian media on the GIAL refund also stated in part that “a directive to that effect, signed by Dr Kwabena Duffour, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on March 18, 2011, authorised the Controller and Accountant General to release the amount to enable the Ministry of Transport to pay validated outstanding refund to Travel and Tour Operators for onward payment of the cost of ticket to the affected passengers,”
On the Contrary, the disappointed passengers are claiming that Travel Agents had denied receiving monies to that effect or had been notified of any such development. Most of the passengers were of the opinion that the statements had aggravated the situation and incensed the aggrieved passengers including some foreign nationals to fight all odds to get their refunds.
Others affected by the GIAL saga believed that all the statements were issued to generate controversy between disappointed passengers of the defunct Ghana International Airline (GIAL) and Travel Agents in the Europe over the payment of refunds of travel tickets.
The Late President Mills promised to complete the refund but now he is gone, it should be one of President Mahama’s priorities to complete the refund or pressurise Collins Dauda of Ministry of Transport to complete the task as soon as possible.
Below are some of the passengers who are still waiting for their refunds
Miss Maysel 0208 894 2490
Miss Wendy Boakye 0208 680 0778
Miss Janet Welsh 0208 239 1907 (07500721597)
Mrs Opoku 0794 191 6616
Mrs Twum Barimah 0208 684 8684
To quote a British Aviation Official at the time of the GIAL suspension “It is both moral and legal duty of the Ghana Government to sort this disgraceful thorn in its flesh if it wishes to command any respect in the aviation industry”