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General News of Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Source: The Finder

Ghana Airways Aircraft To Be Used As Restaurant

Investigations conducted by The Finder newspaper at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra have revealed that the stationary Ghana Airways Boeing aircraft has been sold to be used as a restaurant.

The aircraft, a DC 10, one-time pride of Africa, but now a pale shadow of its once glamorous self has been abandoned at the KIA awaiting final plans to be towed to its final destination, where people can go in to eat and drink. Some workers at Hanger Two, where the 276-seater aircraft has been abandoned told ‘the Finder’ that the plane had been sold to a wife of a Togolese Minister who would soon introduce the Ghanaian public to some local and Togolese cuisines. All I know is that it will be used for a restaurant, but I don’t know when they will start operating the restaurant”, a male worker said. Further investigations have confirmed that the handing over process has also been completed and the aircraft is on its way to start its new life as a restaurant.

Until the intervention of the said Togolese woman, most parts of the Flight DC-10 had been sold as scrap. It was also gathered that three engines had been removed and sold to an unknown buyer. The sources explained that the current state of the plane was as a result of consistent removal of its aluminum components for smelting. When ‘the Finder’ got the location of the plane, it was clear that parts of the wings had been removed with the remaining parts hanging out. The centre tyres had also been removed with wires hanging precariously from the upper parts of the plane. It’s amazing how government can allow this huge plane to rot.

I can’t believe this is the same plane I flew in to the US when Ghana was so much respected for it,” a worker lamented. The soon-to-be restaurant plane has had a difficult history. The 276-seater capacity plane purchased from the USA, ceased operations in 2004. The Government of Ghana acquired a loan using the plane as collateral on work-and-pay basis. Its operations were saddled with series of litigations.

In June 2002, the DC-10 was seized at Heathrow Airport, after a British creditor of the airline got a legal judgment in order to recoup some £4million in unpaid debts. After that seizure, the chairman of the airline, Mr. Sam Jonah, stated that Ghana Airways owed some US$160million and the airline would require a foreign partner if it was to survive. He also noted that the British creditor released the aircraft after the airline paid US$1million.

The Ghana Government announced in September 2002 that it had signed a deal with Nationwide Airlines which would see the South African airline taking over the management the airline, which would have been renamed Ghana Nationwide International Airlines.

In February 2003, Mr. Richard Anane, then Minister of Roads and Transport, announced that the government had withdrawn from the deal with Nationwide Airlines. The aircraft was to be revived in 2010 as a partnership between the government of Ghana and Arik Air of Nigeria, but that plan did not see the light of day.

The site adjacent to Aviance Ghana Limited, formerly AFGO, is being cleared to host the DC10 as a restaurant. When contacted, an official of the Ghana Tourist Authority told ‘the Finder’ that he was unaware of any law that bars anybody from using a stationary aircraft as a restaurant ‘provided it is well ventilated.”

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