Delta Airlines has agreed to operate a direct flight from Accra to Atlanta in the United States of America next year, following a request made by President John Mahama.
The company is also introducing one of its new airplanes on the Accra route, with effect from October 26.
The 210-seater ‘Business Class C’ airliner is equipped with facilities that will make travelling more convenient and entertaining for both business and economy class passengers on the route.
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At a meeting with the top management of Delta Airlines Incorporated at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, USA last Thursday, President Mahama indicated that passenger numbers in Ghana were growing. In that vein, he said Delta’s decision to operate direct flights came as good news to travellers, as currently, passengers travelling to Atlanta had to transit in New York or other longer routes before reaching their destination.
“We intend making Ghana the aviation hub in the West African sub-region, therefore, working together with you, we can achieve that dream,” President Mahama told the airline’s executives.
President Mahama stated that the government was conducting feasibility studies into the building of a new international airport about 30 kilometres out of the national capital, Accra, to ease pressure at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
“Government has secured the land already and we are looking for expression of interest,” he stated, adding that “We are looking for partnership on a win-win situation.”
In the meantime, he said the KIA was undergoing refurbishment including the introduction of air bridges and improving baggage and general services on the ground.
President Mahama informed the Delta officials that aviation fuel was becoming more competitive, stressing that extra facilities had been provided at the airport to avoid past glitches such as aviation fuel shortages.
He expressed appreciation to the senior officials of the airline for linking USA and Africa, stressing the need for Delta to reconsider more than one route to America, to enhance travelling convenience.
Responding, Mr Steve Long, a Managing Director of the company, said, “Ghana is a logical place to look at, considering the stable atmosphere for business.”
He stated that it would be helpful if aviation officials from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority under-studied the operations of Delta in Atlanta, to tap their rich experience and expertise.
Mr Long also said the new Delta Airplane that would be operating in Ghana later this month was one of its newly refurbished airlines, saying that all the seats would have video strings at the back.
He expressed appreciation to the GCAA for working closely with the airline over the years, adding that the GCAA had ensured that it maintained standards in instances where there had been shortfalls and gave an assurance that Delta would further improve on its services.
President Mahama later toured the offices of the company, where he and his entourage received in-depth briefings on the airline’s operations.
He was accompanied by Mr Daniel Ohene-Agyekum, Ghana’s envoy to America; Kwame Tenkorang, Director of State Protocol; Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Information and Media Relations, and Mr Samuel Sarpong, Central Regional Minister.