The founder and Chairman of Antrak Group, Alhaji Asuma Banda, has told the B&FT that he will consider a court action against the state if government goes ahead to establish a new national airline.
He said a state-run airline is a conduit to waste public funds, hence he will not sit down for state resources to be spent on unprofitable ventures.
?If the government goes ahead to establish a new airline, I will challenge them in court. We have no money to throw away. It won?t work,? he said.
Alhaji Asuma Banda?s dig at government plans to get a new national airline for the country resonates with the sentiments of many Ghanaians following two failed attempts to operate a national airline over the past decade.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Transport, Dzifa Ativor, told the media that government was evaluating some possibilities to set up a new airline partnership in an attempt to tap into prospects of the aviation industry.
Some aviation experts have said government only needs a carried interest, but the private sector must manage any new national carrier.
Previously, Ghana Airways Limited, founded in 1958, had been the national airline with the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) as its hub. However, the airline ? ridden with debt ? ceased operations in 2004. Attempts were made to revive its fortunes, but to no avail; and in June 2005 the airline was liquidated.
In 2010 government signed a partnership agreement with Arik Air of Nigeria in an attempt to relaunch the Ghana Airways carrier, but the deal was still-born.
Government has indicated that it is committed to settling all outstanding issues with the last national carrier, Ghana International Airlines (GIA) ? which suspended operations in May 2010 ? before proceeding to set up a new one.
The Ministry of Transport has therefore presented proposals to Cabinet, hoping to put to bed any lingering issues with GIA. Some analysts have welcomed the intention to set up a new national carrier, but have urged caution to avoid past pitfalls.
According to Alhaji Asuma Banda, mismanagement in the operations of the erstwhile national airlines is the principal reason for their collapse.
Industry experts contend that the best industry practice for national airlines is a partnership agreement with the private sector, wherein the latter controls majority shares as pertains in jurisdictions where national carriers have been running on such models ? like Kenya Airways in Kenya, among others. B&FT