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Chartered French flight crew nearly dropped Mills on an abandoned runway – Anyidoho reveals

Wed, 29 Sep 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

• Ghana has plans to get a new presidential carrier

Koku Anyidoho agrees this is a good plan

• He shared an experience that could have been near-disastrous for the former President Mills


In 2009, the late former president, John Atta Mills, was on a chartered flight from Accra to Tamale that nearly turned disastrous since the crew did not know the route well.

This is according to Koku Anyidoho, who served as the Director of Communications under the former president, the crew, of a French-speaking origin, nearly dropped the president on an old and abandoned runway due to their unfamiliarity with the route.

In an interview on Okay FM on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, and monitored by GhanaWeb, he explained how the late former president preferred using chartered flights instead of the country’s presidential carrier, the Falcon.

“President Mills preferred traveling commercial because with the Falcon, when traveling long haul, you’d have to stop and refuel, and all that comes with costs. A lot of these things don’t have to do with the individual and his individual approach to the whole thing.

“President didn’t find it too appropriate that when traveling to places like the US, Canada, we should use the Falcon because of the number of times you’d have to stop and refuel,” he said.

Koku Anyidoho was commenting on the ongoing conversation about the government’s intention to procure a new presidential aircraft.

While speaking about why he fully subscribes to that plan, Koku explained the intriguing circumstances that surrounded what he says was the first trip by President John Evans Atta Mills after he took office in 2009.

“President Mills’ first local trip when he became president was to Tamale and when we got to the Kotoka International Airport, they said there was the plane and then the president got in. And on that trip, we had Cletus Avorka, in terms of ministers; I was on it myself.

“And then we said we were going to Tamale; they had gone to rent a plane from somewhere whereas the Airforce was there. They were some two young pilots from wherever and they could not even speak English, it was French they were speaking. The trip that was supposed to be 45 minutes, we were at a point just flying around in the sky and people started murmuring, asking what was happening.

“And then we started descending and at that point, we started smelling the aviation fuel that was burning. We started descending meanwhile we were not seeing any runway not knowing there is an abandoned runway from Nkrumah’s time and these boys were going to land the president there. We then had to start directing them on where to land and where not to land,” he said.

He added that it was that day that the Ghana Airforce decided that going forward, no trip of the president would be taken without their involvement, even if they were not the ones directly flying the Number One man.

“That was the day the Airforce took a decision that never again that would the Commander-In-Chief make any flight out of the country without their concern, even if it is commercial, they have to have a hand in it and take a decision,” he explained.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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