The Delta Air Lines saga in Ghana continues, which soon could spill over to other carriers if a new proposal gains any traction that would ban all aircraft over 20 years from the airspace of Ghana.
Ghana Now Considering Banning All Aircraft Older Than 20 Years From Its Airspace
After a problem-plagued Boeing 767-300 aircraft was used repeatedly to operate flights between New York (JFK) and Accra (ACC), the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) banned that particular aircraft from its airspace and requested that Delta stop flying the 767 altogether on to Ghana. Even so, outrage grew that Delta would use such a troubled aircraft, with some charges of racism being directed at Delta even though it uses the same aircraft to serve destinations in Europe and within the USA. A lawsuit was also threatened.
Now, the GCAA will reportedly soon issue a directive that will block the flying and importation of any commercial aircraft that are 20 years in Ghana. Charles Kraikue, the Director-General of the GCAA, explained:
“Following persistent complaints from passengers, we will soon bring out a new directive that will stop airlines from using overage aircraft in the country’s airspace.
“Under the new regime, the proposed ceiling for commercial aircraft to be deployed to Accra is 20 years. This is part of a bundle of measures designed to ensure that aircraft on the Accra route are fit for purpose.”
Of course, age is just a number not just with humans, but airplanes. Indeed, a well-maintained 40-year-old Delta DC-9 might be far “safer” than a newly-delivered Aeroflot A350 that has operated for several months without maintaining its inspection log. Kraikue virtually concedes this point:
“If the proper maintenance procedures are followed, chronological age is not a limitation, but the directive has become necessary due to recent periodic complaints and dissatisfaction from passengers.”
That strikes me as a rather weak reason for the ban, especially considering roughly half the aircraft in Ghana would face a ban under this measure. For example, domestic operator Passion Air would be left with only two aircraft, since its fleet of Dash 8-300s is over 30 years old.
Delta responded to the letter by saying it would abide by the ban of that particular 767-300, N-195DN, but explained that it uses the 767 on routes all over the world and that “Delta is committed to providing the highest levels of safety and industry-leading service for not just our Ghanaian customers but also all our customers.”
Ghana is considering banning all aircraft over 20 years from flying in its airspace. This strikes me as the sort of “using a shotgun to shoot a fly” type of solution. Perhaps instead the GCAA should heavily fine airlines who experience mechanical delays rather than a blanket ban, but I ultimately think the latest GCAA proposal will hurt the very people it intends to help.
image: Richard Snyder