The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has underscored the need for a new widebody executive aircraft for the Ghana Air Force for government business.
Mr Nitiwul said the absence of a wide body was affecting the operations of the Air Force and that the CASA 295 currently being used was not suitable.
Answering a question on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday, Mr Nitiwul said the government was consulting with relevant stakeholders for the purchase of the aircraft to enable the Air Force to efficiently defend as expected.
“It must be noted that the CASA 295 is not suitable for government business in view of its design and features making it a pure military aircraft.
“Until the government acquires a wide body aircraft for the Ghana Air Force, the task assigned to it will continue to face major challenges and difficulties,” Mr Nitiwul, MP, Bimbilla, told the House.
“Mr Speaker, because we do not have Ghana Airways it is paramount to have an aircraft that can do government business.
“The log book of the CASA 295, which is pure military aircraft, is so full that it is not safe for us to continue to rely on the Air Force to be faring government officials.”
According to the Defence Minister, the absence of an executive aircraft is costing the country a lot of money because it had to engage the service of other airlines to ferry for example players of the national teams.
“If we have an aircraft that can carry 50 people and the Black Stars are going to play ball in South Africa, they will use that aircraft. Today, the Black Stars are spending millions of dollars in chattering aircrafts,” he stated.
The Armed Forces, Mr Nitiwul said, spends more than GH¢4 million every year to fly soldiers on peacekeeping operations.
The decision to purchase the aircraft, Mr Nitiwul said, was at the behest of the Air Force who wrote to his outfit.
Mr Nitiwul, meanwhile, laid a performance sales and purchase agreement for an amount of €111,393,400 for the supply of six L-39 Next Generation Aircrafts.
The agreement also includes the provision of support in terms of products, services, and ground based training systems associated with the aircraft operations for the Ghana Armed Forces.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI