Cecilia Abena Dapaah
Cecilia Dapaah, Minister of Aviation, has lambasted officials of British Airways over what she termed their poor treatment of Ghanaian passengers, despite enjoying monopoly over the Ghana-UK direct flight market for many years.
At an emergency meeting with some officials of the British Airways convened at the Ministry on Thursday, Mrs Dapaah raised four key issues of concern to the Ministry on the airline’s treatment of Ghana and Ghanaian passengers; particularly reports of bedbugs on a flight scheduled to have been flown to Ghana last weekend.
“It is very disheartening that British Airways that has had a clear monopoly of direct flights to London will treat Ghanaian this way; it is unacceptable, and we demand serious explanations and we need to have your reassurance that this incident will never ever occur,” she stated.
He said for BA’s own staff to walk away from the aircraft after discovering the bedbugs meant they knew the impact of the bugs.
“We know the medical consequences and this is not good enough. We want to register our great displeasure at this incident,” she said.
She stated that Ghana would no longer tolerate such bad treatment from any airline, especially not from British Airways.
The Minister said President Akufo-Addo was very worried about the situation and they need to reassure Ghanaians that this will never happen again.
“It is not good enough and we want to register our displeasure,” she reiterated.
Mrs Dapaah also raised concerns of the overall bad treatment of Ghanaian passengers, including a recent incident involving the Attorney General, for which the airline had written to apologise.
She stated that “it should never have happened. Our hierarchy should be respected. Things that cannot happen in London or Europe should not happen here. “We demand respect and good treatment for our Executive, Judiciary and Legislature.”
She noted that the Ministry was also concerned about why Ghana was made to pay as much as 1,300 pounds for its direct flights whereas neighbouring Nigeria pays only 900 pounds.
“We don’t understand why we pay more,” she said, adding that Ghanaian passengers have also complained of Nigerian passengers getting more luggage allowances than Ghanaians.
Another concern was the relocation of Ghana flights to London from Terminal 5 to terminal 3, causing passengers to walk long distances.
She bemoaned the continues poor treatment of Ghanaian passengers on BA, saying the airline was pushing Ghanaians to the wall and warned that Ghana would take drastic measures if such an incident occurs again.
“We expect you to change your attitude towards us both inbound and outbound.”
Pat Bonsu, British Airways Airport Manager, who attended the meeting with other officials, said the said bedbugs infested flight had been changed and could support it with document.
The delegation could however not speak to the other issues, as they did not have prior notice of the presence of the media.
A written comment by BA on the bedbug issue noted that while hotels and airlines occasionally face bedbug issues, reports of bedbugs on British Airways were rare and the airline was vigilant and continues to monitor their aircraft.
John Attafuah, Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited, urged BA to step up their operations and offer quality services to Ghanaians.