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General News Wed, 27 Oct 2004

Passengers threaten to burn down Ghana Airways Hqr.

About 200 irate passengers of the country?s distressed airline,Ghana Airways, yesterday besieged the head office of the airline in Accra, threatening to burn it down because no arrangement had been made for them to fly to their destinations.

The stranded passengers, most of whom were bound for Dusseldorf in Germany, carried to the premises of the office a wooden kiosk which they intended to set ablaze but for the timely intervention of the police.
The passengers also locked out the workers for a few minutes and prevented them from entering the premises to work.

According to them, for more than two weeks they had been going to the office only to be told to call the next day. ?Sometimes we even stay until they close but nothing happens,? they added.They also refused to accept any refund because they claimed the refund would not be enough to buy them even one-way tickets.One of them, who pleaded anonymity, said, ?I want the money, but since last week they have not been able to pay so I do not understand what the management of the airline or the ministry is saying.?

Barely two months ago, another group of disappointed passengers marched to the private residence of the President in a similar fashion.As the police calmed the irate passengers down, another drama unfolded when a serious confrontation ensued between the workers of the airline and the Head of the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Roads and Transport, Mr Ken Anku.

The workers accused him of calling them names and threatened to deal with him if he did not leave the premises.The police intervened in the ensuing scuffle and quickly whisked Mr Anku away from the scene to prevent the angry workers from venting their spleen on him.Soon after, what had begun as a misunderstanding between the irate passengers and the workers later changed, as the two became one and accused the ministry of not handling the situation appropriately.

Meanwhile, no member of the new management task force was available to tell the passengers what the next line of action would be.Mr Mawuko Afadzinu, Senior Manager, Advertising, attempted in vain on many occasions to calm the passengers down because he did not have any information as to when there would be an aircraft to fly them out of the country.

When questioned by media men, he could not provide any answer.In an interview with the Chairman of the Ghana Airways Workers Union, Mr I.A. Kuofie, he said, ?We the workers have not been paid for the past three months.?
?We do not know what we can do about the passengers because there is no aircraft available now and we also do not have money to refund to the passengers,? he added.

He admitted that the ministry asked the airline to cease selling tickets but said it issued another directive for sales to begin on September 15.?We did commence sales because we thought that once the directive had been issued, the ministry would provide an aircraft but we have heard nothing,? he said.



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Source: Graphic
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