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Govt rejects relocation of British Airways Ghana services to Gatwick Airport

BY: Elvis Dompreh

The government has rejected a decision by British Airways (BA) to move its Ghana services from the Heathrow Airport to the Gatwick Airport.

The airline’s decision means that all London-Accra-London bound BA flights will originate and terminate at the London Gatwick Airport.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Aviation in Accra yesterday said it had received notification from the management of BA that the airline had taken a decision to operate its Ghana services from the Gatwick Airport, instead of the Heathrow Airport.

“It means that all London-Accra-London bound BA flights will originate and terminate at Gatwick, instead of Heathrow,” it said.

BA’s communication further said the new schedule was expected to start in the forthcoming summer.

Meeting

“Following this, the Ministry of Aviation convened a meeting at the instance of the then Minister, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, to discuss the matter and register its displeasure about the way and manner the decision was being taken without due consultation with the Ghanaian authorities,” the statement said.

It added that at the meeting, the BA team promised to provide further information and data analysis to support its reasons for the changes in its services from Heathrow to Gatwick to enable the government of Ghana to take a final decision on the matter 

“However, the airline team is yet to provide any information, as promised,” it said.

Rejection

Consequently, the statement said, it sent a letter to the BA authorities, rejecting the changes.

 “For the avoidance of doubt, we are unable to accept the change in the London-Accra-London flights originating from the Gatwick Airport,” it said.

It said the ministry was engaging with the management of BA to ensure that its Ghana services from London originated and terminated at the Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow

The Heathrow Airport was, until 1966, called the London Airport.

It is the second busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic, the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic and the seventh busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic.

 It is one of six international airports serving the London region.

 In 2019, it handled a record 80.8 million passengers, a 0.9 percentage increase from 2018, as well as 475,861 aircraft movements, a decrease of 1,743 from 2018.

The airport facility is owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings.

Heathrow lies 23 km west of Central London and has two parallel east–west runways, along with four operational terminals, on a site that covers 12.27 square kilometres .

The airport is the primary hub for BA and the primary operating base for Virgin Atlantic.

Gatwick

The Gatwick Airport is a major international airport near Crawley, West Sussex, England, 47.5 km south of Central London.

It is the second busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the UK, after Heathrow.

Gatwick is the 10th-busiest airport in Europe and covers a total area of 674 hectares

Gatwick opened as an aerodrome in the late 1920s; it has been in use for commercial flights since 1933.

The airport has two terminals — the North Terminal and the South Terminal — which cover 98,000 m2 and 160,000 m2, respectively.

 It operates as a single-runway airport, using a main runway with a length of 3,316 m. A secondary runway is available but, due to its proximity to the main runway, can only be used if the main runway is not in use.

 In 2018, 46.1 million passengers passed through the airport, a one percentage increase over 2018.