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British Airways' Heathrow to Gatwick saga: Ghana to take reciprocal action

Mon, 25 Jan 2021 Source: aviationghana.com

British Airways’ plan to move the London-Accra-London flights from Heathrow to Gatwick at the end of March 2021 has taken another twist, with Ghana promising to take reciprocal action in the coming days if the decision is not reversed.

This follows the receipt of a letter dated January 14, 2021, which was signed by BA’s Senior Vice President for Africa and Middle East, Suhail Ali, that attempted to explain the reasoning behind the London-based airline’s decision.

According to AviationGhana sources, the BA executives attributed the planned movement to streamlining of the airline’s operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that only 18 percent of passengers on the route travel for business reasons.

Ghana’s Ministry of Aviation, however, rejected the explanation offered by BA in a letter dated January 20, 2021 and addressed to Suhail Ali, that it will take a reciprocal action, including asking BA to land in other airports in the country instead of the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.

“We are not convinced about the reasons for the movement of the Accra-bound BA service from Heathrow to Gatwick Airport and thus strongly object to the changes.

“In this regard, we wish to state unequivocally, that the Ghanaian authorities will advise itself and take a reciprocal action on behalf of our passengers in the coming days if our call for British Airways to rescind its decision on the movement to Gatwick Airport is not heeded,” the Ministry stated.

Background

About a month ago, British Airways announced that effective March 28, 2021, its London-Accra-London flights will operate out of Gatwick Airport instead of Heathrow.

The Aviation Ministry, which was not notified of the decision, then called for a meeting with the airline to discuss the issue and to make clear their decision to object to such a change coming on the back of what the Ministry described as similar unilateral decisions taken by the airline in the past which were unfavourable to Ghanaian passengers.

The Ministry of Aviation in a press release issued on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 said the: “The Ministry in a letter to the BA Authorities, rejected the changes and categorically informed British Airways that ‘for the avoidance of doubt, we are unable to accept the change in the London-Accra-London flights originating from Gatwick Airport.’”

Ghana’s Aviation Ministry on January 20, 2021, received a letter from BA dated January 14 seeking to explain the rationale behind the business decision. However, the Ministry of Aviation rejected the explanation and demanded BA reverses the decision.

Source: aviationghana.com
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