Wednesday, January 23, 2013

■ GHANA: The outcome of talks between the GCAA and Delta Airlines over allegations of the latter's shoddy service.

GCAAThe Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has met with officials of the Delta Airlines (DL) at the GCAA Head Office in a bid to resolve complaints from passengers stemming from flight delays, cancellations and poor customer service.

GCAA Headquarters, Accra
GCAA Headquarters, Accra (GCAA)
The meeting, which was chaired by Air Cdre K-Mamphey (rtd), Director-General of the GCAA, was attended by senior directors of the GCAA and two (2) senior officials of Delta Airlines: Mr. Robert Bryan, Commercial Director, East and West Africa and Mr. Pak-Wo Shum, Managing Director, Delta GSA, Ghana and Liberia.

The airline has been facing passenger criticisms for flight cancellations and delays, amidst alleged poor service on its United States – Ghana flights. The GCAA, which is the government’s official regulator on aviation, said it was compelled to summon Delta Airlines as the airline’s operations are critical to the growth of the aviation industry in Ghana as well as contributing to the economic development of the country.

Critical issues discussed were:
  • Delta Airlines has within the last four (4) days, stationed a Maintenance Engineer in Accra in a bid to resolve all technical hitches contributing to flight delays and cancellations.
  • In the United States, these issues are also receiving a high level attention with the formation of a committee which has in turn appointed a senior staff to review all processes for the US – Accra departure, taking a critical look at patterns and details.
  • The airline will also be sending a Senior Maintenance Engineer to re-evaluate Delta’s local maintenance partners.
  • Delta is also endeavouring to get the aircraft with the re-configured seats back on the Accra route, however, air fares have been reduced to reflect the unavailability of this particular aircraft.
  • Customer complaints are being tracked by flight and crew to provide a more detailed analysis for quicker resolutions.
  • All passengers who have been affected by delays are duly compensated.
  • The GCAA would increase the rate at which the Safety Audit of Foreign Aircraft is conducted for the airline.
Source [GCAA]
The Director General (DG) rebuffed claims that the GCAA had joined forces with its Liberian counterparts to perform an audit on the airline, saying that GCAA was perfectly within its own rights to commission an audit if need be. On January 11, Liberia's Civil Aviation Authority, along with the Liberian Ministry of Transport, ordered a safety audit of Delta following a series of flight cancellations and intermittent technical problems. The LCAA went so far as to recommend that Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and government officials not use the American carrier for travel.

While the DG acknowledged that although the issues discussed did not border on safety and security of the aircraft, it was imperative that the airline assures the travelling public of its commitment to the provision of a reliable air transport services.
Delta for its part reiterated their commitment and support and said that the airline would endeavour to give the best service to passengers and that in no case has safety been compromised.

Ending the meeting, Air Cdre Mamphey (rtd) said passengers were becoming increasingly aware of their rights and cautioned all airlines to quickly adapt to the changing environment.