Tag: Kotoka International Airport


Uber Launches In Ghana!

trotroGhana is a wonderful country. And one of the biggest parts of Ghanaian life is transport. You can find anecdotes about practically any mode of transport, from car, to boat, to the humble tro-tro which has been a loyal medium for many. The landscape of Ghanaian transport has been changing over the past few years, with work underway to drag Kotoka International Airport into the 21st Century, as well as the much-acclaimed ‘made-in-Ghana- cars manufactured by Kantanka and work all across the nation to improve the roads and travel infrastructure.

Now, one of the biggest travel sensations in the world is finally arriving on the shores of Ghana. 0c838fdf-fbd8-44d4-942b-039b7cbe577bAt midday on Thursday 9th June 2016, Uber finally arrives in Ghana as Accra becomes the 8th sub-Saharan African city to utilise the acclaimed ride service! The cab-hailing behemoth will commence operations with immediate availability of its UberX cars, and hopes to expand its fleet nationwide just as we have seen time and again in territories all across the world.

Uber is a cab-hailing smartphone app which allows passengers to summon cars at real time and at affordable prices. It’s rating system, easy-to-use app and good service has taken the world by storm, allowing Uber to have a presence in more than 460 cities worldwide. Already, Uber’s research has seen that there is a great demand for its service in Ghana. Uber Technologies Inc. have moved their focus onto Africa in recent times and are steadily expanding their services across the continent. Ghana is the 5th sub-Sharan African country it has added to its global network, with Tanzania hoping to follow later in June.

uber-750x400Uber has seen the demand for its services on Ghana’s shores, and the increasing way technology is being embraced to help improve living. Accra has been selected to be the starting point for Uber in Ghana, with its thriving population of 2.27 million having access to efficient transport through its ride-sharing platform from June 9th. “We see Accra as a natural fit!” proclaimed Alon Lits, who is Uber’s general manager for the Sub-Sahara territory. “Accra is a bustling, connected city that Uber is proud to be launching in. Its people are willing to embrace innovation and technology, and love products that are cool, exclusive and offer a new experience. We are able to deliver just that – safely, reliably and affordability”

So if you’re in Accra, download the Uber app now and await launch. Follow @Uber_Ghana on zvfasfatwitter for more details!

*Note: Uber are offering 6 free weekend rides (up to the value of GHS 20 each) on launch weekend, from midday on Thursday 9th June to midnight on Sunday 12th June. Here’s how to redeem the free rides:

  1. Visit m.uber.com or download the free ‘Uber’ app on your SMART phone ( iPhone, Android, Blackberry 7, Windows Phone)
  2. Sign up and activate your 6 free rides with the promo code: MoveGHANA
  3. Request your ride

By Dr. Jermaine Bamfo

Turkish Airlines, Why?

Turkish Airlines. Many things have been said about the airline. It is commonly known that transit in Istanbul sometimes took about 24 hours and passengers had to spend a night in a hotel. I also felt that Turkey was so close to Iraq, and that the long standing dispute between Iraq and the Turkish Kurds could suddenly spark off terrorism which could affect planes flying from Turkey. All these things frightened me and I always said to myself never to fly Turkish Airlines. This year, at the time I was about to travel to Ghana, Turkish Airlines happened to have the cheapest rates of all the airlines I checked. I was tempted and decided to give them a try.

A bit of facts about Turkey: They have been trying hard to be counted among the developed countries of Europe and want to join the EU. They hype their achievements and one of their prides is Turkish Airlines. They have advertisements

Turkish Airlines ad featuring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi

Turkish Airlines ad featuring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi

in major international media saying how good the Airline is and the awards they have received. Some major footballers in the world have appeared on some of these ads. One popular and funny one pits Drogba against Messi in an epic food battle featuring many exotic dishes served on the airline which you are not likely to get on the Accra journey. It is evident in my personal opinion that what they say in these ads did not meet up with their services as I experienced when I travelled in their aircraft to Ghana. I get the impression that they have different and better services to the developed world but poorer services to the third world.

Through inefficient management of the Airline or absolute and deliberate corruption, Ghana Airways collapsed never to rise again. Ghanaians have been travelling very much with airlines which are better known to them, and these are: British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa. These companies use huge aircrafts for long distance journeys. These are wide-bodied passenger jet airliners.

The article will mainly be talking about Turkish Airlines and the uncomfortable treatment meted out to passengers travelling to Ghana. In July there was an urgent need for me to travel to Ghana. Since their rates were some thirty percent lower than the next cheapest airline, I chose to travel with them for the first time despite the mixed feelings and suspicions I have for the airline. The plane left very early in the morning and we were to transit in Istanbul. The immigration process was simple and waiting period to board another plane to Accra was just three hours.

Thy_fcb_new_aircraft_borakWhen I entered the plane I realized it was not a Boeing aircraft. This plane had two seats on the left and two on the right with a tiny aisle. It was a long and boring direct flight from Istanbul to Accra since the tiny plane had no facilities for the passengers to listen to music or watch films in a flight that took seven hours. This was a far cry from the service I’m used to on the bigger airlines doing the Accra journey. I was all the time hoping that my regular luggage and the one extra I had paid for, would all arrive with me in the plane. It was a smooth journey. We arrived on schedule at 20:15 at the Kotoka International Airport.

Like all other foreign aircrafts coming to Ghana, the passengers in the plane were predominantly Ghanaians. There were only six white persons. We went through immigration procedure which was very transparent and smooth. I hurried to the luggage belt. My people were waiting outside to take me home. We were all becoming nervous, impatient and angry. All the luggage that came were transported to a special area. What was happening? News came after nearly forty five minutes of waiting that our luggage would arrive the following day and that the luggage we were seeing were for those who had arrived on the same flight the day before. They pleaded with us to leave and come for our luggage the next day.

My anger knew no bounds. It was the first time I was going home without my luggage. The worst thing was that I had my daily medicines in one of the bags. I kept wondering why they could not announce this to us in the plane. This clearly shows a total lack of respect for Africans. As I turned to go, I bumped into a white man who sat right behind me in the plane. I asked him if he knew anyone in Accra. He told me he was visiting a Ghanaian friend in Takoradi. He added that his friend did not know he was coming. He wanted to surprise him. He said that this was not the first time he was coming to Ghana. I asked him if he knew anyone in Accra. He said no, and that since his luggage did not come, he requested a card that would enable him to spend the night in a hotel. Really?

He took me to the officer who gave the card to him. He left to find a taxi to the hotel. I told the officer to also give me a card to stay in a hotel since I didn’t know anyone in Accra. He looked at me and smiled. “You are a Ghanaian and you don’t know anyone in Accra? I don’t believe you,” he said. I told him I was taken to Europe when I was five years. I gave this lie just to check how he would react. He asked for my passport. I gave it to him. “But there is no visa in your passport.” He said. I showed him my dual citizenship card. He took it, took a furtive look at it and pushed both passport and card in my hands. “Sorry I cannot help you.” He was very indifferent. This is pure discrimination, I hollered at him.

The following day when I collected my luggage, I went to the office of Turkish Airlines and complained bitterly about theGhana_Airways_DC-10-30_9G-ANE_JFK_2004-4-10 attitude of their staff member. The man apologized and assured me it will never happen again.

Dear reader, probably what happened to us was not frequent but a single incident. However, if you have had such an experience with Turkish Airlines, do share it with us. You may note that the officer who treated me that way was not a Turk but a Ghanaian.

This article is to indict Turkish Airlines for its poor services and the harsh and unwelcome treatment meted out to Ghanaian travellers by fellow Ghanaian officers at the airport. Don’t you think it is time to resurrect Ghana Airways? I weep for Ghana.

By Stephen Atta Owusu

Article taken from here

We left Africa…

We Left Africa- But We Will Be Coming Back Home

 

This is inspired by Afua Hirsch’s article for The Guardian: Our Parents Left Africa- Now We Are Coming Home. This article is not meant to be a direct response to the one named above but to merely offer a different perspective on the issue of the economic migration of Africans to the west and the return home- from the perspective of one born and raised in Africa but living in the west.

 

I was born and raised in Ghana, but I have been in and out of the UK since I was about 17 years old. I therefore did not have to go through the topsy-turvy period of trying to discover my cultural identity as do many children of African descent growing up in the west. Though I am embarrassed by stories like the one that appeared on the cover of the Economist in 2000, I am not affected as much as my cousins who have been born and raised in the UK and whose knowledge of Africa is largely shaped by what they see in the media. Unlike them, I know of a different Africa- an African where the roads are just as good as those in the west and people drive around in Range Rovers. Consequently, I did not go through that excruciating experience of denying ones own roots and disassociating oneself from Africa and anything African. Many like me, who relocate to the west at an older age, have different kinds of issues to deal with; you get white Europeans looking at us like we all speak in clicks and have come from war ravaged countries where we walked 10miles every morning just to fetch water from the same river our livestock drink from. I remember I was once sat in a predominantly white church where the vicar had just returned from an evangelism trip to Uganda. Before his sermon that morning, he decided to show the congregation photos from his trip on the projector screen. He had visited a church branch in one of the shanty towns. The flick showed images of living accommodations constructed from scrap metal, plywood and plastic sheets-one on top of the other and situated right in next to a massive refuse site. As I sat there lost in my thought wondering what becomes of children born in such an environment, I had a gentle tap on my shoulder. It was the vicar’s wife and her words were; “Does this remind you of home?” I was dumbstruck and could not utter a word, so she obviously took my silence to mean a “yes” in response to her question. I could not help but think the whole congregation had the same question on their minds. The vicar had no other photos of Uganda other than that of the shanty town. So a congregation of about 20 went home that Sunday with one image of Africa in their heads. This is our battle; constantly battling the stereotypical image of the African. And we battle these stories and images not because we deny Africa faces issues of the poverty, famine and senseless wars, we do so because we know there is another Africa whose story never makes the headlines. Because we are aware that the constant reproduction this negative image does nothing but rob us of our dignity as a people.

Though it may still be true that life abroad means “access to a stable income, reliable healthcare and a credible education”, unlike the Africans from Afua’s mother’s era, leaving for this breed of African migrants is not permanent. Not only are flights home more frequent and comparatively cheaper, we are starkly aware of the changing fortunes of Africa and the many economic opportunities its offering. So when we have had the education, the work experience and managed to pull enough resources together, we find our way back home. And we do go back with good experience, having traveled the world and observed and engaged with many other cultures. That is why whenever I go back to Ghana to see the family, I scream if I have to queue up for hours and be played like a ping pong between different customer service desks just to get my own money from a bank; because I have lived in a society where customer service is excellent most of the time. And in the same vain, whenever I visit Ghana, my heart warms with pride when I see my neighbour admonishing my niece and nephews when they are being mischievous because I have lived in a society that has a broken family and societal system and experienced the consequences.

I do not hold our experiences to be richer and better than those who have lived on the continent all their lives, but our experience however offers a different perspective which can be harnessed for our common good. The African migrant of today has the ability to negotiate both worlds with relative ease. We can put on a British or an American accent if the need rises or switch to our local African languages so we do not get swindled by people back home who may mistake us to be foreigners.

Year after year, several Africans resident in Europe and America make that final journey back home. It was several years ago they begun that sojourn- they carried not just their luggage and passports bearing a much sort after visa, they also carried within them a dream. A dream that some day they can come back home and build economic empires so big that their children would not have to make this journey ever again. But as one group gets off the plane at the Kotoka International Airport, another jumps on, back to Europe and America beginning their sojourn. It has become something of a cycle. But this cycle is losing its momentum. For a long time bad press has sucked away belief in us as a people and in the continent. But somehow there is a new sense of optimism within Africans – on and off the continent, returnees and “stayees”. Africa is on the surge and it is no longer so uncool to be African or to be associated with anything African. I tune the radio to Kiss Fm in London and I hear D’banj singing Oliver Twist, I go to a club in Dortmund and I see people dancing azonto, I drive through Brussels and I see someone in African prints. Africa is on the rise.

On my last visit to Ghana in April 2012, I sat watching telly with my mother. It was a children’s rap competition and what struck me was the fact that none of these children performed lines by Drake or J. Cole, they were spitting the lyrics of Sarkodie, Kwaw Kesse and EL. I sat with a grin across my face. The change has finally begun. When I was growing up our rap icons were all American. We wanted to speak and dress like them, so we longed to be American. Now this generation of Ghanaian children have their heroes in Ghana. Just like their icons, these children now believe they can live in Ghana and be whatever they wish to be.

By Maclean Arthur

Development in Ghana

Tamale International Airport to cost US$174 million

 

The need for another International Airport in Ghana to complement that of the Kotoka International Airport, Accra is long overdue. This is because of the high investment of the country’s airspace. With the drilling of oil in commercial quantities and increase in the economy, more foreign direct investments are increasing on a daily basis.

In addition, Ghanaian pilgrims to Mecca who are mostly from the Northern regions always experience such terrible journeys  as every year as a majority of them do not have relatives in Accra and are have no choice but  to sleep at the airport for weeks before they actually departure . Luckily a Hajj Village has been built near the El-Wak Sports Stadium, where they are accommodated and fed before boarding on this Holy Pilgrimage.

It is stated that, Ghana’s flying and air travel industry stand out as one of the fastest developing and most competitive in the sub-region underscored by the fact that the number of commercial and cargo carriers plying in and out of Ghana has almost doubled from 15 in 2000 to 30 in 2010.

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) made it a campaign promise prior to the 2008 elections that, when voted into power they would build a second International Airport in Tamale to transform the savanna regions of Ghana with the view of bridging the development gap between the North and South of the country.

During a visit to Brazil by Vice President John Mahama, he appealed to the Government of Brazil to help attain this noble course. This request was agreed and the Brazilian Infrastructure Development Company, Queiroz Galvao, is prepared for the construction of the airport which is to be financed by Brazil’s national EXIM bank, BNDES.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has since been signed by Queiroz Galvao with the Ministry of Transport, and completed the necessary designs and phasing for the works.

Vice President Mahama explained that the project will start with the expansion of the runway to accommodate large body Aircrafts and also the construction of an international standard terminal building. The next phase will be the provision of ancillary services including hangers, maintenance area, catering and ground handling. The last phase will be the construction of a cargo village targeting fresh fruit farmers that are setting up camp in the Savanna regions and the various processing companies being set up in the area.

The project according to him is estimated to cost US$174 million.

Source: http://ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=24174

By Cloudia