Friday, January 11, 2013

■ LIBERIA: Liberian, Ghanaian Civil Aviation Authorities order safety audits of Delta Airlines citing frequent delays.

Liberia Civil Aviation Authority logoLiberia's Civil Aviation Authority, along with the Liberian Ministry of Transport, have ordered a safety audit of American airline, Delta Airlines (DL) following a series of flight cancellations and intermittent technical problems. The LCAA has also recommended that Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and government officials not use the American carrier for travel.

Delta Offices, Monrovia (liberianpride30)
At a news conference held at Monrovia's Roberts International Airport on Thursday, Richelieu Williams, head of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) and Transport Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe said that Liberia is working alongside the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and experts from the Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organization, to ensure that Delta “takes the appropriate corrective actions."

Williams disclosed that on a number of occasions, the airline had "unceremoniously" cancelled or delayed several flights to the detriment of Liberian travelers for "unexplainable reasons" while claiming that the LCAA had discovered that Delta was undergoing technical and mechanical problems, which are threatening to the safety of its Liberian passengers, something about which a formal complaint has already been made.
"Owing to the urgency attached to the matter by Liberia and Ghana, a combined team of safety inspectors is being mobilized to carry out a comprehensive safety audit of Delta's operation operational and maintenance within the shortest possible time to meticulously and specifically conduct safety inspections on all '767-300 series short-listed on Delta's Aircraft Operating Certificate (AOC) viz-a-viz Air Service License (ASL) issued by the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority," he assured.
Source [The New Dawn]

While not explicitly banning the Liberian president from travel on Delta, Williams "strongly discouraged it" pending the outcome of investigations.

For his part, Transport minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe said the LCAA and its Ghanaian counterpart had already written separate letters to the Delta Airlines management and had agreed to conduct a joint safety audit on the American airline, with plans to invite the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) "at an advanced stage".
"Recent incidents of flight cancellations and unexplained delays sometimes owing to technical reasons heightened a joint representation by the two civil aviation authorities to compel the safety audit within the shortest possible time. As a requirement, Delta is expected to comply,” Minister Nagbe said.
Source [AfricaReview]

Meanwhile, Ghana’s GCAA has expressed dissatisfaction with Delta’s “poor customer service bordering on rudeness, indifference or brusque manner by Delta’s flight attendants” and “alleged use of old aircraft on the Ghana-USA route” along with “repeated major inconvenience and additional costs experienced by Ghanaian customers to mechanical failure of lavatory system resulting in flight reschedules and cancellations."

No statement from Delta has been received as of publishing.