Ghana, Ethiopian Airlines to see MoU through Despite air crash

BY: Edward Acquah
Mr Kofi Adda (left), addressing the media. Picture: EBOW HANSON
Mr Kofi Adda (left), addressing the media. Picture: EBOW HANSON

The Minister of Aviation, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, has given an assurance that the current crisis facing Ethiopian Airlines following the crashing of one of its planes will not affect ongoing arrangements between Ghana and the company to establish a Ghanaian airline.

At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Adda said Ghana’s engagement with the company was far advanced and that by April, this year, the two parties would reach a conclusion on the shareholders’ agreement after which the airline would be established formally.

In December 2018, Ghana signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopian Airlines to set up an airline that will fly the Ghana flag in the aviation space this year.

The Government of Ghana will have a 10 per cent stake in the airline, while the Ghanaian business community could own more than 40 per cent shares, with the Ethiopian Airlines — which is expected to provide technical expertise — owning less than 50 per cent shares.

In February, the Ministry of Aviation sent a delegation to Ethiopia to discuss key issues relating to the agreement, including the shareholders’ agreement, corporate governance arrangements and the management structure.

“Our team came back successful. They reported to us that most of the things we considered had been taken on board by Ethiopian Airlines.

They also had their views and we needed to concede where we needed to do so,” Mr Adda said.

Unfortunate incident

Last Monday, Ethiopian Airlines announced that it had grounded its 737 MAX 8 fleet until further notice after one of its 737 MAX 8 flights crashed in Ethiopia last Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

Reacting to the incident, Mr Adda described the crash as an unfortunate one which could occur to any other airline in any part of the world.

He said the crashing of one of Ethiopian Airlines’ jets could not in any way undermine the high sense of professionalism and best practices adopted by the airline in 80 years of its establishment.

Mr Adda expressed confidence that ongoing investigations into the matter would help unearth the actual cause of the crash to help forestall a reoccurrence in any part of the world and enhance safety in the aviation space.

“There are many 737 aircrafts that have been manufactured by Boeing. One of them being involved in an accident does not suggest that 737 are endangered,” he said.

“Many airlines are operating this type of aircraft and we have not heard anything happen to them. The investigations will tell us what actually happened,” he added.

No decision yet

Mr Adda said the ministry had not taken any decision on which aircraft model it would use for its long haul flights in relation to the arranged home-based flag carrier.

He, however, stated that officials at the ministry would soon visit the premises of Airbus and Boeing — the two leading airplane manufacturing companies — to examine their products and choose one that would be suitable for the Ghanaian airline’s operations.

“The experts are there. They will do all the analysis and we will select the one that will be best in terms of the business that we are going to operate,” he stated.