An Aviation Expert based in the United States, Mr Sean Mendis, has said that Ghana’s presidential jet, the Falcon, is not the ideal jet for long journeys.
He said it may embark on such journeys however, that will require a higher technical support and also with less luggage and passengers onboard.
He said these when asked whether the Falcon is suitable for long hour trips, while speaking in interview with TV3’s Komla Adom on the mid day news on Monday 27.
“No,” he answered. He added that “the Falcon is not the ideal jet for long haul travel. It is optimally suited for trips from Ghana to anywhere in Africa , maybe some parts of Europe. If you are going to Asia, if you are going to North American, the Falcon will be able to do it but will require higher technical stuffs.
“Optimally, it can probably do around 3000 miles which is about 6 hours. It is capable of flying further with less luggage, with less people on board.”
The interview was based on the criticisms against President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by North Tongu Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, for what he believes is the President’s seeming extravagance with regard to the flights chartered for his trips abroad.
The Director of Communications at the Presidency Mr Eugene Arhin said he was hoping that Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa would back up his claim that President Akufo-Addo travelled to Brussels aboard a chartered plane but he has failed to do so.
Mr Arhin dismissed the claims and further said that unashamedly, Mr Ablakwa has refused to make mention of it, let alone apologise for it.
“Again, after being caught out on the Accra-Brussels-Kigali lie, the Honourable Member of Parliament tries to justify the so-called “21-hour” cost of the flight with some voodoo charges. What is shocking, in his Friday statement, is the admission of the fact that he does not know for a fact the cost of the charter.
“The so-called €480,000 cost he is bandying about is the result of guess work, and on the reliance of a ‘generous 21-hour cost analysis’. He provides no evidence or documentary proof whatsoever to back up his €480,000 cost claim, because he has none. Once again, it is obvious that the Honourable Ablakwa finds these attacks on the President to be his pathway to political prominence through negative propaganda, and is determined to pursue this course, no matter how ridiculous and insulting his statements are.
“He further states that, if Brussels Airport was closed due to the strike, President Akufo-Addo could have arrived in Kigali “through the many (other) busy transit routes”, for example Paris. For Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the President, sitting in a cafe at the train station in Paris, with practically no official security around him, and waiting to board a train, is of no moment. The State owes it a duty to be fussy about these things, even though the President may not be fussy about them.
“Is it acceptable to Ablakwa that the President cannot attend engagements that he is spending his valuable time to make because connecting flights get cancelled? Or that he has to wait around airports because flights have been delayed? Or, as happened in his last trip, he arrives at his destination from an overnight flight without any luggage of his arriving with him, such that he cannot even have a change of clothes to make the appointment he travelled for in the first place? It is a shame that an honourable Member of Parliament has no regard, whatsoever, for the security and safety of his President.”
Mr Arhin, earlier indicated that President Akufo-Addo travelled to Brussels on a commercial means of transport.
First of all, Mr Arhin explained, President Akufo-Addo travelled from Accra to Paris on Sunday, June 19 on a commercial flight.
He said even the Air France flight made a stopover in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso before proceeding to the French capital.
“In fact, all of President Akufo-Addo’s 12-member delegation travelled commercial,” Mr Arhin said in the statement on Friday, June 24.
“Upon arrival in Paris, President Akufo-Addo and his delegation travelled via train to Brussels to attend the European Development Days event, where, on Tuesday, 21st June 2022, he was a keynote speaker, and later held meetings with the President of European Investment Bank on two key subject areas.”
The statement admitted that the president’s next trip on Sunday, June 26 will be by the use of the Presidential Jet.