The aviation wing of the McDan Group of Companies, McDan Aviation, has launched Ghana’s first private jet charter services at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.
But the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) operators of KIA, has raised a number of concerns against McDan Aviation’s private jet operations in a terminal which used to be for domestic flights, suggesting the company has been lawless and highly indebted.
In this regard, McDan Aviation outdoored the private terminal and services on Friday, January 28, 2022, but the event was boycotted by the leadership of the GACL and government officials.
The ultra-modern jet lounge at Terminal One of the KIA, is the first of its kind in the sub-region. This follows the acquisition of a Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) license from the GACL.
According to the company, the opening of the lounge is expected to solidify Ghana’s aviation industry as one of the best in West Africa and position the country as the preferred business and investment destination in the region.
In his brief address, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Chairman of the McDan Group of Companies, Dr Daniel McKorley, said the opening of the lounge is the beginning of greater things to come in the Ghanaian aviation industry.
He said the lounge will be used to drive Ghana’s vision for the industry and potentially boost the country’s tourism sector.
“The goal behind this private jet lounge is to position the country’s aviation industry amongst the best in the world. The lounge is not for McDan rather, it is for the business community and top-class executives, and this is one of the places we can be recognized amongst the leading countries when it comes to aviation,” he said.
The company will kickstart its commercial private jet services with three airplanes and one helicopter, while arrangements are in place for the acquisition of other aircrafts, including a Challenger 604 Bombardier, a Gulfstream jet, and helicopters, to offer air-ambulance medical, as well as domestic tourism.
This, Dr Mckorley pointed out that private jet services will cater to high-end clientele with a sense of optimizing luxury, and for corporate executives seeking to leverage quick and efficient commute for the purpose of business.
The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah and the Managing Director of the GACL, Yaw Kwakwa, refused to attend the event, following the issues, including security breaches, raised against McDan Aviation, who is well connected to the ruling New Patriotic Party and the Akufo-Addo family.
Accra-based Citi FM, reports sighting a letter the GACL wrote to the Minister of Transport dated January 24, 2022, which stated that, while McDan Aviation had satisfied all operational requirements to enable it open for business, it was “yet to fulfill its financial obligations to it.
McDan owes GACL a total of US$4,505,034 and GHS227, 293 respectively.”
It disclosed further that as part of negotiating a payment plan, McDan, paid a paltry GHS1,000,000 on January 19, 2022.
The Ghana Airport, also said McDan Aviation “is yet to agree on a Fixed Base Operator (Private Jet Terminal Operator) license fee with GACL.”
Hours before inauguration, GACL in a letter dated January 28, 2022, directed McDan Aviation to suspend the commissioning ceremony, following some breaches.
GACL, in the letter to McDan, said it had “engaged in several activities without prior approval from GACL which have typically called for emergency corrective actions.”
It cited the commencement of the construction of the private jet terminal without a Plan of Construction Operation approval from GACL as an example.
“We only became aware of your construction activities during routine security patrols, and we had to ask you to stop and submit a PCO [Plan of Construction Operation] for review and approval before construction continued.”
The letter from the Ghana Airport Company requested that McDan Aviation should postpone the launch of the private jet lounge Friday, because GACL said it was given short notice to offer logistical support, among others, at the commissioning ceremony.
McDan Aviation had received a license to operate as a fixed-base operator at the airport in 2019.
“The nature of our work demands that we should have been given a reasonable period of notice to enable us plan adequately through engagement of relevant staff and stakeholders.”
The Ghana Airport Company also said, “all attempts to meet with you for discussions in connection with the proposed inauguration over the past three days failed as a result of your failure to turn up for the planned meetings.”
The conduct of McDan Aviation also presented security concerns, according to the airport company.
It said security was heavily breached at the terminal on January 27 because of the parking of several vehicles in front of the terminal building.
“What makes this disturbing is that beyond verbal admonition, we had written to you the previous day, January 26, 2022, to the effect that cars could not be parked there.”
McDan Aviation’s private jet services will cater to high-end clientele with a sense of optimizing luxury, and for corporate executives seeking to leverage a quick and efficient commute for the purpose of business.
Daniel Mckorley, said he was elated that this plan had come to fruition. “I have a lot of joy in my heart because what everybody thought was impossible, we have made it possible”
“We have a very strong team that has supported me. Ghana Airport Company has really supported me. The Civil Aviation Authority has supported me,” he added.
According to him, jets shouldn’t just be viewed as just a luxury, and his plan is to “bring private jets to the doorsteps of the diplomatic corps, politicians and the business community as a whole.”
Daniel McKorley, said, the ultra-modern private jet terminal, which is the first in Ghana, has been equipped to provide first-hand aviation services to all, especially the business class. “The business class is going to see another level of aviation,” he said.
McDan, as he is known popularly, further explained to graphic online that the terminal is to boost business and tourism in Ghana.
“The lounge of the private jet terminal has a conference room for people who want to have business meetings at the airport, without necessarily going into the city when they arrive. They get the business done and return on that same day and within hours,” he noted in the graphic reportage.
He disclosed that, McDan Aviation is to kickstart commercial private jet services with three airplanes and one helicopter.
He said the company is also making further arrangements to acquire other aircraft including a Challenger 604 Bombardier, a Gulfstream jet and helicopters, to offer air-ambulance medical, as well as domestic tourism.
“The McDan Commercial Private Jet Service will not only provide convenience for business people; it will also offer direct employment to over 400 Ghanaians when its operations begin,” McDan stressed.
He further urged Ghanaian businesses to make similar investments in Ghana.
“I believe this current government is a business government, and it is supporting us and will support us to make a very big difference and a big impact.”