Ghana’s aviation ministry is continuing the long tradition of African governments complaining about British Airways. This time they’re unhappy that BA plans to operate its Accra flight to London’s Gatwick airport instead of Heathrow.
British Airways believes 82% of passengers on its Ghana flights are traveling for leisure, and operates key leisure routes out of Gatwick. Of course right now all travel in and out of London is mostly either critical business or visiting friends and relatives.
Ghana’s government is offended they weren’t consulted, and believes this treats its citizens as less valuable – and is threatening “reciprocal action” in response.
For the avoidance of doubt, we are unable to accept the change in the London-Accra-London flights originating from Gatwick Airport.
We are not convinced about the reasons for the movement of the Accra-bound BA service from Heathrow to Gatwick Airport and thus strongly object to the changes.
In this regard, we wish to state unequivocally, that the Ghanaian authorities will advise itself and take a reciprocal action on behalf of our passengers in the coming days if our call for British Airways to rescind its decision on the movement to Gatwick Airport is not heeded.
Reciprocal action would seem to mean forcing British Airways to use a different airport in Ghana, in response to their decision to use a different airport in the U.K. Their only option I think would be Kumasi Airport – over 100 miles away – which while technically an international airport pre-pandemic was only seeing domestic flights to Accra. In other words, they’d effectively be banning British Airways from the country which would hardly advantage their citizens or economy.
Of course this is hardly the first public row between he government and BA. Ghana’s Minister of Aviation publicly took on British Airways three years ago over bed bugs, and flying to Heathrow terminal 3 from Accra rather than using the newer terminal 5.
This came a year after Ghana’s President lashed out at BA over its service,
- flying old 747s to Accra
- use Heathrow terminal 3 instead of terminal 5
- “the general quality of services” offered by the British flag carrier
Mind you terminal 3 isn’t nearly as bad, even needing a connection, as when BA operated terminal 1 bus gates. And it’s not obvious how the BA 777 product was better than what they offered on their 747s. More seats on the 747s meant lower prices, too!
Still, these complaints perhaps aren’t nearly as petty as a Nigerian cabinet minister calling out BA for delivering London pizza to wealthy residents of his country at a time they were trying to reduce their trade deficit.
While BA’s 747 from Heathrow to Lagos arrived just before dinner time in that nation’s capital, it wasn’t exactly clear that this was really happening – which service was managing the delivery, that anyone would want to put food in British Airways cargo, or why indeed you couldn’t get good pizza in Lagos?
(HT: One Mile at a Time)