DALLAS – Today in Aviation, The flag carrier of Ghana, Ghana Airways (GH), commenced operations in 1958.
The airline had been founded earlier that month to take over the services of West African Airways Corporation (WT). The country’s government invested £400,000 for a 60% shareholding and joined forces with the British Overseas Aircraft Corporation (BOAC), which held the remaining 40%.
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The deal was signed for seven years, after which BOAC would be brought out. This occurred on February 14, 1961, when the Ghanian government stumped up a reported £160,000 for the British carrier’s shareholding.
A Boeing 377 Stratocruiser adapted with BOAC colors with the Ghanian flag operated the airline’s inaugural flight from Accra to London. Ghana Airways received its first aircraft, a de Havilland Heron, on December 30, 1958.
The airline entered the jet age in January 1961 when it ordered two Boeing 707-400s and three Vickers VC-10s. However, the order for the 707s would subsequently be canceled owing to financial difficulties. The first VC-10 arrived in 1965.
Along with the initial partnership with BOAC, GH had close ties with various other airlines throughout its history. This included pool agreements with Nigeria Airways (WT) and Alitalia (AZ), aircraft leases with KLM (KL) and Swissair (SR), and an alliance with South African Airways (SA).
Despite steady expansion during the 1990s and 2000s, financial difficulties were growing for the airline. A DC-10 was seized at London Heathrow (LHR) in June 2002, after which the airline’s then Chairman, Sam Jonah, said that the airline was some US$160m in debt.
Rescue negotiations with Nationwide Airlines (CE) of South Africa in 2002 and Ethiopian Airlines (ET) in early 2005 failed, and Ghana Airways was liquidated in June 2005.