Some wives stop dressing well when they get too comfortable in their marriages.
I don’t think it will not be out of place to liken the current relationship between some local airlines in Ghana and their customers to that of these wives.
Fly540 can definitely be likened to this kind of woman.
I had the shock of my life two Thursdays ago on a flight from Kumasi Airport to Accra.
The whole trip felt like a trip on a ‘bone shaker’ or a rickety ‘trotro’ from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to Odorkor in Accra.
A ‘bone shaker’, officially called a mummy truck, was common in my childhood in the ’80s and early ’90s. It usually had a heavy-duty engine, but the ‘bucket’ was made of wood and was intended for carrying heavy goods.
But it was not uncommon to see lorry stations having these cars for passengers. As they got older and rickety, they literally shook your bones on the many poor roads of Ghana, hence and the name.
Not many are seen anymore in Ghana except in the various high schools where they are still to carry wood and food items.
Back to my aircraft story
The aircraft with registration EC-LNR belonging to Helitt (pictured below) flew without a properly functioning air condition. I understand Fly540 had hired their services while their own aircrafts were undergoing routine maintenance.
I don’t think it is fair to torture your customers with so much discomfort simply because you don’t have your own aircrafts operating.
The worse part of this experience was that the crew kept lying to sweating passengers while on the tarmac that the air conditioners would start functioning fully when the aircraft engine was turned.
Of course, this ‘magic’ never happened, even when were airborne.
Things got worse when we encountered some turbulence and the pilot announced it would continue till our arrival in Accra.
Imagine 30 minutes of discomfort in a small and warm aircraft thousands of feet above sea level amidst turbulence. No wonder my friend Dagadu, who was flying for the first time, vowed to rather travel by road the next time we embark on such a trip.
It is quite obvious that complacency has set in among domestic airline operators.
Flight delays, cancellations, hike in air fares, among many other things. Ironically, the regulator – Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) – says it does not see any wrong doing on the part of these airlines. Like seriously?
In a recent interview granted to Citi Business News, GCAA Director General Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey defended the airlines.
“These are machines and of course, occasionally, we expect to see some challenges with them but it’s not to the extent that it’s a regular thing or a habit.”
I can take this explanation on the road, but in the air, I’m sorry sir, I will not! Customers are entitled to a smooth, flawless and comfortable flight to their destination. Therefore, this excuse and reasoning doesn’t wash.
Two years ago, government was elated the domestic airline industry was seeing so much growth, which inevitably meant an appreciable level of earnings for government.
Starbow Airline for instance, in one quarter of 2012 saw more than 100% growth. The success of the airline saw more airlines including, Africa World Airlines and a host of others knocking on the doors to enter the booming market.
Ghanaian business operators and travelers for different reasons also moved with the flow and massively started patronizing the services of the airlines.
I actually just found out that my experience was not peculiar. My colleague in the Citi FM newsroom, Gary Al-Smith also had a similarly bizarre experience from Takoradi to Accra on another airline, according to his post on Facebook from February 16.
This was just three days after my own ordeal, on another airline. Gary tells me that was the third such experience he had faced with a domestic airline.
Can we get serious for once as a country? Should we always destroy any good thing we start beautifully?
One thing for sure though, I won’t risk another trip with Fly540.
By: Nana Boakye-Yiadom