General News Sun, 16 Sep 2001

Ghana Airways To Begin Flights To The US

The Kotoka International Airport and the national airline, Ghana Airways have now been cleared to begin flights to the United States following certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This brings the number of African airports and airlines cleared by the FAA to five including Angola, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt.

The airline regulatory body began conducting security checks on airports and air carriers as part of its heightened security measures for flights to and from the United States following last Tuesday’s terrorist attacks. Already, most of the airports and airlines in Europe including South America and Asia have been cleared to provide service to US airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration continues to update its list of airports and airlines, whose security certifications have been completed. Meanwhile, despite the lifting of flight restrictions on the Kotoka International Airport and

Ghana Airways by the FAA, the two organizations seem not to be aware of the clearance. JOYFM’s monitoring team chanced on the information indicating that Ghana and four other African countries can resume flight operations to the US after having satisfied new security checks.

However, enquiries at Ghana Airways and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority indicate that officials on duty do not know that the restrictions have been lifted. Officials at the offices of the two institutions told JOYFM that there are no management staffs to relay any information to the traveling public.
They advised JOYFM to contact their offices on Monday, for any information about flight restrictions. Hundreds of Ghana Airways passengers, including their crew are stranded in both Accra and the United States after Tuesday’s attack.

Ghana Airways Crew Stranded In Baltimore And New York

A 29- member Ghana Airways crew is stranded in New York and Baltimore as a result of new restrictions imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that has interrupted normal flight operations to and from the United States. A source told JOY FM that the two crews are short of money for their upkeep since their allowances, which were recently reduced have already been used.

JOY FM’s investigations reveal that the airline’s officials in Ghana and the United States have failed to contact their crews whose flights have been put on hold since the incident occurred on Tuesday.

Members of the crew say they are unhappy having been abandoned by the airline at a traumatic time when flight crews face higher risks. According to a source in touch with the crew, Ghana Airways has also failed to contact their families back home to assure them of their safety.

The Baltimore crew, which got to the US last Sunday, was due to leave for Ghana today, while the New York crew was scheduled to have left for Accra on Wednesday, a day after the bombing.

It is not known when the crew will be able to leave via Ghana Airways, in view of the new FAA security guidelines for international carriers. Such carriers may now fly into or out of the US if they meet new requirements such as effective measures to handle hijacking situations and depending on their point of origins.

When JOY FM contacted Ghana Airways’ headquarters in Accra, the head of Public Relations, Bannerman Bruce said the strands would be taken care of by the airline’s offices at the J.F Kennedy and Baltimore Airports. But information available to JOY FM indicates that those two offices directed the crew to contact Accra for any assistance. Mr Bannerman Bruce told JOY FM that once the airspace restrictions are lifted the crew would be flown back home.

Source: Joy Online