Ghana is not prepared to suspend its negotiations with Ethiopian Airlines as a strategic partner for the proposed new home carrier regardless of the plane crash that occurred last Sunday.
According to the Minister of Aviation, Mr Kofi Adda, the crash which claimed the lives of 157 people on board, is being investigated by experts to explain why the plane crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa.
Mr Adda said the airline is considered to be one of the safest among the lot as it is committed to providing safe, convenient, and comfortable service for its customers.
The Minister announced this at a press briefing on the impact of the ET 302 crash on the planned establishment of the home based carrier in Ghana.
Ghana plans to establish a new home-based carrier after the collapse of Ghana Airways, a fully state-owned entity and the subsequent collapse of Ghana International Airlines, having regard to the past experience.
Mr Adda disclosed that the government had gone far into entering a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the strategic partners, Ethiopian Airlines as well as completing negotiations with other co-investors.
“Although Ethiopian Airlines will manage the home-based carrier, Ghanaians will maintain a majority stake,” he added.
Mr Adda expressed the hope that discussions with all interested investors would conclude by end of March and operations of the home-based carrier would take off by the second quarter of this year.
Explaining the structure of the new airline, the Aviation Minister said that government would not take up more than 10 per cent in the yet-to-be established new national air carrier emphasising that government is being careful not to repeat mistakes of the past.
“The government and Ghanaian investors will have a majority shareholding of 51 per cent, out of this; the government intends to have only 10 per cent shares and Ghanaian investors will hold 41 per cent.”
“Ethiopian Airlines and other foreign investors will hold the remaining 49 per cent meaning if there are no additional foreign partners, Ethiopian Airlines shares could go up to 49 per cent” he said.
He said there will be one or two representatives on the board, but neither government nor the Aviation Minister will interfere in operations of the new company in terms of policy, strategy and operations.
By BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY