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GCAA to introduce customer protection directives for airlines

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Air Namibia has re-entered the Ghanaian market after suspending its operations from the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for four years.
Air Namibia has re-entered the Ghanaian market after suspending its operations from the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for four years.

The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) plans to issue new customer protection directives to regulate the activities of airline operators and their customers.

The new directives are to help ensure that both operators and passengers are fully aware of their responsibilities and rights in order to contain disagreements that often arise between the two parties.

The Director General of the GCAA, Mr Simon Allotey, disclosed in a speech read on his behalf at the inaugural flight of Air Namibia on June 29, this year, in Accra.

After some four years absence from the runway and apron at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Air Namibia has made a comeback. On June 29, this year, the Airbus A319-100 landed at KIA.

After a successful maiden flight to Accra from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia via Lagos, Nigeria, the airline operator pledged to sustain the new route, which is expected to serve as a direct connection between Southern Africa and West African countries.

“We, however, entreat Air Namibia to ensure passenger rights are duly protected. To this end, the authority will soon issue new customer protection directives to ensure that both operators and passengers are fully aware of their responsibilities and rights,” Mr Allotey noted.

He said the authority as an industry regulator would provide Air Namibia with all the necessary technical guidelines and the support to ensure safe, secure and sustainable operations on the Accra route.

According to him, the authority operates an open door policy and the management of Air Namibia should feel free to contact it promptly for anything related to the regulations.

Swift performance

The Managing Director of Air Namibia West Africa, Mr Peter Addai, observed that previously when the airline operated to Accra, it demonstrated swift performance from safety, efficiency and excellent customer service.

“It was, therefore, a sad news when some time in 2014, a decision was taken to suspend operations, such was the impact of Air Namibia that stakeholders stopped asking managers of the airline why they stop operation,” he said.

He said the second coming of the airline to Accra should not only excite people but rather stakeholders must help sustain the operations going forward.

“Within the past few years when the operations of the airline were suspended to Accra other routes have been added to the network such as Gaborone in Botswana and Durban in South Africa.”

He noted that this convenient new service operated four times a week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Windhoek) providing a smooth and convenient connections inbound and outbound to the airline’s regional flights, connecting West Africa via Windhoek to and from various destinations.

The operation will further transport passengers and cargo on the Lagos-Accra-Lagos leg, utilising the fifth freedom traffic rights granted by the Ghanaian and Nigerian governments, as contained in the existing bilateral air service agreements.

Creating air transport linkages

The acting Managing Director of Air Namibia, Mrs Mandi Samson, in a speech read on her behalf, said Air Namibia was closing a gap in the market by competitively connecting Southern Africa to West Africa within less than six hours.

“The decision to launch flights into West Africa is in line with Air Namibia’s mandate and purpose for existence – creating air transport linkages to promote intra-Africa connectivity and regional integration.

“This much needed service gives our passengers a better alternative travel option, reducing travel times between Namibia and West Africa by more than 60 per cent.

“We are happy to introduce our award winning service in this market. Air Namibia is offering competitive fares and trusts that once you have tasted our product, we are sure to become your preferred airline of choice,” she stated.

Return of Air Namibia

For his part, the Managing Director of the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), Mr John Attafuah, stated that the return of Air Namibia was a clear manifestation of the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Accra route.

According to him, the airline is resuming operations to Ghana at the time when the Terminal Three project, which has a capacity of five million passengers a year, is almost completed at the KIA.

“We hope that the terminal will provide airlines operating at KIA with the opportunity to either increase their frequencies or develop new route to make Accra the hub of the West African sub-region,” he added.

Transforming the aviation industry

The Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, in a speech read on her behalf, said the government was on an aggressive plan to transform the aviation industry in the country.

She noted that the government through the ministry was committed to providing the needed policy direction and the necessary support to promote the development and growth of airline operations and the aviation industry in general.

“The government recognises the contribution of airlines to the growth of the national economy and Air Namibia is no exception.

“As a ministry responsible for aviation, we wish to assure Air Namibia and other airlines of our unflinching support to promote airline operations in the country,” the minister added.—GB

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