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Opinions of Sunday, 24 July 2011

Columnist: Bolus, Mercy Adede

GIA Tickets refunds – Whose responsibility?

Last year due to the impact of the volcanic eruption in Iceland it disrupted the Airline industry. Many customers were disappointed however put up with the inconvenience it caused the world.

Over 800 customers of the failed Ghana International Airlines were left helpless and horrified over response we encountered. Thankfully, this week the Government has finally responded to the plight of GIA customers caught up in the mess.

Although I did congratulate the President Atta – Mills’s Government for rising up to this challenge and releasing money to be paid to the 800 passengers we the passengers have still not received any money.

The Chief Executive of GIA handling of the crisis was unacceptable and wants to know disciplinary measures put against her. Passengers were left in a limbo and not knowing who to turn to. All the travelling agents were also in the similar situation as their customers.

One thing I observed during the crisis was the lack of consistent advised from the entire travelling agents where tickets were bought. Those who are still buying tickets from Ghanaian travel agents please ask the right questions before you purchase a ticket.

I wrote to the Chief of Staff at the Castle regarding my concerns early this year regarding my concerns. Up till now still waiting for the refund of 5 tickets purchased from Panafrique travel agent in London in February 2010.

On hearing the good news after I had written my letter to the Chief of Staff, I phoned Panafrique on several occasions to request the refund money however the response that the money promised has not been released from the Government.

I have already informed the parents of the 5 students whom I recommended to Ghana via GIA about the good news. There is certainly a lack of an effective communication strategy between the GIA and customers. This has cause too much harm then good.

Was any money released for the refunds of tickets at all? I now hear that the Transport Minister has been moved to another Ministry when he has not finished dealing with the refunds. What is going on?

Is this the way the Government want to handle the situation? When angry passengers decided to call a demonstration in London they are advised to exercise patience and that the money would be paid to all the various travel agents. Up till now my agent Panafrique tells me no monies have been paid to her to give to her clients.

I just want the Deputy Information Minister Mr Ablakwa Okudzeto to publicly announce the precise arrangement by the office regarding this matter. In fact we are all sick and tired of any more excuses from his office and demand an answer now”!

What exactly is going on Mr Ablakwa Okudzeto? If this saga is going to drag on for any longer, then many Ghanaians got up in this trap will begin to completely lose hope and trust with this Government. We the victims need words of substance that would get the money in to our hands. Thank you.

The patience of the victims is beginning to run out of steam.

Mercy Adede Bolus