General News of Saturday, 2 August 2014

Source: Kojo Smith | GhanaWeb

Flights from Nigeria, others to Ghana not banned

A highly placed government source has denied reports circulating in Nigeria that the Government of Ghana has banned flights from Nigeria and three other countries that have recorded cases of the deadly Ebola virus.

The source told on condition of anonymity that Government has not considered such an option and is focused on putting in place preventive measures to protect Ghanaians from the virus that is causing panic in the West African sub-region.

On Friday, reports were rife in sections of the Nigerian press that the Government of Ghana had imposed a ban on all flights from Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to possibly stop the inter-country spread of the disease.

According Nigeria’s Premium Times news website, Charles Asare, Managing Director of the Ghana Airport Company said the ban was part of an elaborate emergency response being implemented to contain the deadly Ebola virus.

However, the sources states that the Ministry of Transport have the Authority to take such measures but as it stands now, there are not enough reasons to impose a ban on flights from Ghana’s West African neighbours.

In a related development, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCCA) has denied news reports that Ghana has banned flights from Nigeria and other three countries due to cases of the deadly Ebola virus recorded in those countries.

According to Fan Ndubuoke, General Manager, Public Affairs of the NCCA, they are yet to receive communication from their Ghanaians counter-parts, the GCCA or the Government of Ghana about the enforcement of the said ban, according to a report by THISDAY, a Nigeria website.

Also the Deputy Managing Director and Head of Flight Operations of Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi told THISDAY Friday night that Arik Air has been operating into and out of Ghana, adding that the airline’s flight operated on Friday evening to Accra, Ghana's capital, and another flight was scheduled today from Lagos to the neighbouring country.

A visit to various departure halls at the Kotoka International Airport by GhanaWeb on Saturday revealed that Arik Air, African World Airlines and Aero Air officials were operating their regular flight schedules to the various destinations including the aforementioned routes.

“Five flights have left to Nigeria this morning, and three have landed already, all our flights are working today, if there is any ban on flights to Nigeria due to Ebola disease, airport authorities will direct us to do so,” an Arik Air official told GhanaWeb in an interview.

Nigeria registered its first casualty of the disease when a Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, 40, was diagnosed of the symptoms and subsequently confirmed dead of the Virus that is creating panic West Africa.

Last week government of The Gambia announced a ban on all flights emanating from West African destinations as a step towards preventing Ebola disease from being brought into the country.

In an earlier report, communications minister Dr. Edward Omane Boamah while addressing a news conference in Accra on Thursday, had said the government was yet to come to a conclusive decision to bar flights from the countries.

"The issue about whether to bar airlines from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia into our country or the opposite direction is something that we will study very closely. We will consider all the implications, consider the readiness at our borders and then come to a reasonable conclusion on that," he said.