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Business News Thu, 31 Mar 2005

GIA Begins Operations In June

THE new national airline, Ghana International Airlines (GIA), will begin operations from June this year.

This follows the mobilisation of $7 million by the shareholders.

Out of the total money so far raised, the government contributed $4.9 million as part of its 70 per cent stake, while the remaining amount was raised by Ghana International Airline (GIA)-USA, a US- based consortium.

GIA-USA was given the nod last year to partner the government when the operations of the distressed Ghana Airways was terminated after it had run into debts of several million of dollars through decades of unproductive services.

GIA-USA, as part of the deal, will also bring in expertise and modern aircraft to form the new airline.

It is in line with this partnership that GIA is expected to start its maiden operations in the ECOWAS sub-region in June this year. The airline will, however, begin operating internationally in October.

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Documents made available to the Graphic indicated that GIA had been designated a ?national carrier? by the Ministry of Road Transport to fly the national flag and it was currently awaiting its Aircraft Operating Certificate from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

According to the document, the GCAA gave the airline an Air Carrier Licence number 197 in December last year to enable it to operate in the country.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has also awarded it the three-letter designated code of ?GHB? (Golf-Hotel-Bravo), while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had also awarded it the two-letter code ?G0? (Golf-Zero) in the airline business.

According to a release issued in Accra last week, when the GIA commenced business, it would offer 12 weekly round-trip flights non-stop on the vital business routes between Accra and Lagos, as well as a 12 weekly round-trip flight non-stop between Accra and Abidjan.

In addition, the routes of Bamako, Ouagadougou, Banjul, Freetown and Monrovia would be plied six times each, while Dakar and Conakry would receive services four times weekly.

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The Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of GIA, Mr Sean C. Mendis, said the airline was going to start its operations with two Boeing MD-90 aircraft which would later be increased to four within the year to ply the sub-regional routes, and another two Boeing 767-300ER to ply the intercontinental routes to Europe.

He said presently, GIA had a workforce of 27 who were putting the airline into shape and added that it would commence the employment of regular workers by next month.

On the issue of Ghana Airways staff, most of whom had been made redundant after the company was closed down, Mr Mendis said since the airline was a different entity from Ghana Airways, applications would be sought from interested staff who would want to work with the new airline.

Source: Graphic
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