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Opinions of Thursday, 2 September 2004

Columnist: Amankwa, Kwame

Ghana Airways - The devil incarnated

I have read Joan Jehu-Appia's article about her experiences with Ghana Airways on her recent visit. I have nothing but sympathy for this young Ghanaian lady born in Britain. The airline according to sources have never been able to make any "decent profits" since it was formed. It has been abused, battered, raped, pillaged, nicked, you name it, by Ghanains and foreigners. Yet it continues to operate.

If one ever wanted an example of an organisation in the world that is badly managed than the pig sty in my village near Kimkim, it is this one. If ever there was any institution that was on it's knees yet still rewarding it subjects handsomely, it is this one. If there was an outfit which poo poos on the vital element of customer services, treat it's passengers like shit and vomit on their hard earned monies, it is Ghana Airways. Sometimes my stomach aches when I see Ghana Airways lambasted day in day out. It is not the airline which is bad, we should get this straight. It is the people, the "tribe", the "chiefs", the so called "big and small shots".

I fail to undertsand (and certainly need psychological help) why after all the horrible stories, people still buy Ghanair's tickets. As much as I understand their troubles, sufferings etc inwardly I tend not to sympathise a great deal with them Why? Thanks to heavens Ghana is now served by so many reputable airlines. They go to Ghana nearly everyday unlike my village years ago when we use to sleep in the village "lorry" overnight for a seat for the following day's journey. The 40 kgs or so that Ghana Airways gives is a myth or utterly hollow. It is like spending money to buy a badly cooked abetie, large in quantity but ending up giving you diarrhoea all night. What will happen if one day their hungry staff got up and realised that nobody has bought their "empty tickets". I am sorry if anyone accuses me being unpatriortic but five years ago when I visited Ghana and was treated badly by the airline, I swore never to use it again. And believe it I have never had any of the headaches that people now complain about. I know I am now free from the stinking and ugly clutches of the airline. They will never get me.

Two months I took a friend in the afternoon to Heathrow to board Ghana Airways. I bought about ?15 petrol plus the parking charge. At about 11 pm when I was thinking this person is now in Ghana enjoying the hot weather, I got a call saying that he was still in the UK. They did not go because of .......... The airline management had packed them to a hotel near canary wharf (charges ?50 per night ) - about 150 passengers. Now you can work out what the total bill will be. They spent two days before finally leaving for Ghana. What a way to waste-manage a commercial enterprise. Folks what will happen if Ghana Airways were to say to it's passengers " sorry we do not have planes for such and such dates and can therefore not sell you tickets. Please come back later when we have the planes". This will obviously put paid to all the wahala. The airline needs a root and branch reform. People are building mansions, enjoying freebies, keeping unsustainable jobs whilst the airline bleeds. Are there any strategic business planners among the staff?. Does the airline management visualise where it is now and where it wants to be in the future?. Does the airline know who it's customers are and what their needs are?. Because in the past the airline was used by the typical Ghanaian who would not complain but always come back for more of THE SAME ROUGH TREATMENT. Now we have the British Ghanaian, the Japanese, American, Chinese, Australian, Russian, French, Belgian, South African, Nigerian, Canadian etc Ghanaian. These would want to associate with the motherland, but will not take things lying down. So management watch out for more Joan Jehu-Appias.

Ghana Airways is one of the most elderly statesperson around today. It has seen one -party, two party, military coups and dictatorships, abenkwan (palm soup) and dawadawa democracies. It is the only patient that has been diagnosed with some many diseases like no other. It has been to theatres around the world - in Ghana, UK, USA, ITALY,South Africa etc but has not found the simple cure that will put paid to all these surgeries and disease. May God bless it's soul and ensure this oldperson survives to see another decade and possibly beyond.

Do I also hear about widespread begging at the arrival hall at the newly refurbished Kotoka hall. Can someone please place a large notice at the arrival and departure hall which says "It is an offence to give bribes to public officials" or "You are allowed to give a maximum of ?1.00 to any official at any one time". This will help clarify the situation as our dear name is being tarnished home and abroad. Just in case you are thinking that Ghana airways is the most bad nut among the institutions, then you ain't seen nothing yet.

May God bless the republic of Ghana and it's people. May God deliver Ghanair from the claws of the thieves, fraudsters, greedy staff so that it can deliver the excellent services for which it was set up. May the hardworking and honest ones among it's staff outnumber the fraudsters. May all staff be imbued with a sense of patriotism and ownership, so that where the airline even runs out of money these dedicated ones will cough up from their pockets to top up the shortfall. Many thanks.


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