Twilight Zone: Talking To The Founder Of Global Ghana Airlines

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Over the years I’ve had some interesting conversations with airline executives. I’d argue some of the most interesting conversations have been with those leading airlines that don’t actually exist.

My Most Interesting Airline “Conversation” Ever

One of the most interesting conversations I’ve had was just over two years ago when I got a call from Baltia’s VP of Corporate Communications.

For those of you not familiar with Baltia, they claimed they would start operations shortly for nearly 30 years, all while taking money from investors. They clearly never had the intention of operating any flights.

What was so bizarre about my conversation was that I was talking to a guy who had spent over 40 years of his career at British Airways, and he seemed absolutely convinced that he was working for a legitimate company. He just couldn’t wrap his head around why I was giving them such a hard time.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I had my second most interesting conversation with an airline executive… if you can call him that.

My Conversation With Global Ghana Airlines Founder

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how Global Ghana Airlines has started selling tickets between Chicago and Accra for travel as of October 16, 2019. For those of you not familiar with GGA, what’s wrong with you?!

GGA plans to operate flights nonstop between Chicago and Accra. They’ve been talking about doing this for years, but now they finally put tickets on sale. There’s just one small problem — they don’t have an operating license and they don’t have a plane.

They do have this incredibly well produced video, though:

Anyway, I tried to book a seat on the inaugural flight, but I got an error message. So I emailed GGA, and I received a response that included the following:

Also, Mr. O’Toole is interested in having a phone conversation with you at your earliest convenience.

It takes a lot to get me on the phone, but naturally I was starstruck and had to have this conversation. So I phoned up Mr. O’Toole, who attended the very exclusive Aeronautics Institute of Chicago (it’s so exclusive that you can’t even find anything about it online).

So, how was our conversation? He was a very nice guy, and he sounded incredibly genuine. Frankly that made things harder, since I almost felt bad being honest. Essentially he expressed disappointment in me (and the quotation marks below are intentional):

  • He said that GGA “flights” are absolutely launching in October
  • He said that he’d be happy to answer any questions, but they’d go through his “lawyer”
  • He’s sad about the negative things I say about the company not because it hurts him, but because it hurts his “employees”
  • He invited me to meet him sometime in Chicago, which I’d love to do

I emailed him a few questions the second we got off the phone, and he said he’d have a response in no time. I didn’t want to get too critical (and ask him about his education, etc.), so I submitted the following questions:

  • Initially do you plan on operating your own flights from Chicago to Accra, or will they be operated on a wet lease basis? If it’s a wet lease, who are you leasing from, and if it’s your own plane, what kind of a plane will it be, and where is it coming from?
  • Have you secured permission from the FAA to operate these flights?
  • In past interviews you talked about how one roadblock was that you hired “low altitude” flight attendants rather than “high altitude” flight attendants. Could you clarify on the distinction there?
  • Since these are being advertised as charter flights, do you have big groups you’ve already sold seats to, or how do you plan on making these flights work, given that they launch in weeks?
  • You were supposed to initially launch flights last October. What went wrong that prevented that from happening?

I didn’t hear back after a week, so I followed up again. He responded by saying “your request has been forward to my attorney awaiting response.” It has now been two weeks, and I still haven’t heard.

I heard from a blog reader who also had a conversation with Mr. O’Toole, and he was told some interesting things:

  • He was invited to the “media briefing” about the airline this month, which will be held at the Radisson Chicago Midway Airport
  • The plane will allegedly be leased from HiFly (I reached out to them to ask if that’s true, but haven’t heard back)

I’ve told Mr. O’Toole I’d love to do a Facebook Live with him to give him the opportunity to express his perspective on things, if he feels I’m being unfair towards him. He rejected that offer.

Meanwhile I’m still trying to book my seat on the inaugural flight, and am getting error messages…

Comments
  1. Wow, that video is clearly a front runner for 2019 Webbie Award, and GGA is sure to get 5 Star rating early 2020 🙂

  2. Illinois Institute of Technology? He seems legit-ish, even if his company definitely isn’t. Also his profile says aviation consultant for Chicago Public Schools system. Wonder what that entailed.

  3. @Ben, amazing article and great work on the specific questions you posed to him. Will be interesting to see if this post prompts a swifter reply from his/their lawyer…

  4. This is amazing! I’m being very genuine when I say this but your steadfastness to making this happen is inspiring. I actually need to travel to ACC in December but I think I’m going to pass on this route. hahaha Can’t wait to see what happens.

  5. Just another fake airline that will never fly!! and Mr. O´Toole is another pseudo airline executive trying to make us believe that he and his airline is legitimate.

  6. @e30st: How very insensitive of you. You sound as though ET-AVJ, 9M-MRD and the like are flying happily, as though no crisis ever struck aviation these past years.

  7. He sounds like a complete tool

    He should appear on Dragon’s Den / Shark Tank and pitch his business plan – an airline with no aircraft , no certification, no route authority, no staff

    Even Florence foster Jenkins was a more successful singer , despite her inability to “sing “

  8. How do we even know if this O’Toole guy is, in fact, him? You know, as opposed to some Ghanian guy behind a computer screen using his name. Have you tried calling the number on the video? In case anyone missed it, both are US numbers with the +1 calling code lol

  9. “He was a very nice guy, and he sounded incredibly genuine. Frankly that made things harder, since I almost felt bad being honest.”

    @Lucky, don’t all (good) con artists sound genuine? If he made you almost feel bad about being honest, he’s halfway there…

  10. There’s always a sucker waiting to be had. Many scams come out of Ghana and I would not spend any money betting this new airline will ever, ever launch.

  11. Perfect. The Hi Fly 388 on ACC to ORD.Why are they having their press conference at the MDW Radisson? Do they say which Chicago airport they will be using?

  12. I’m not sure I understand the obsession here.
    You established early on that this was a questionable enterprise.
    What does this additional coverage contribute? Is it even more questionable now?
    I suppose the snarky comments endear you to your fanbase but I’m not certain this article (these articles) provide anything of import to this topic.

  13. Also, I believe there is no “Midway Radisson”. There is a Doubletree in Alsip that was a Radisson ages ago, but it could hardly be called “Midway-adjacent”

  14. Just saying …… the Illinois institute of technology (IIT) has been around for ever. It has a graduate program in aeronautical engineering. Not making excuses for the guy but is it possible he misspoke and was careless about the exact name? Nonetheless I travel to Ghana frequently and no way am I purchasing anything until they’ve flown for a year. The defunct Ghana Airlines abandoned pax in Baltimore more than once before going under. Best way to check this guy out is to investigate him in Ghana. Regular travelers will know for sure. I also love your exploring these airline curiosities. I appreciate that you are respectful of ET and other African airlines for flying in the most challenging space anywhere.

  15. “Meanwhile I’m still trying to book my seat on the inaugural flight, and am getting error messages…”

    At least Oh-Tool isn’t trying to take your money, yet???

    I suppose this is why @Lucky has so many credit card frauds lately.

    Following up on that last post, How would banks or credit card respond if the card users are (to the best of knowledge) aware it is a scam. Isn’t this charge been not in good faith? Would the card still cover this, can you legitimately dispute the charges?

  16. Jordan, why do you think he seems legitimate? He’s talking utter nonsense and refuses to answer simple questions – pretending to be waiting for a lawyer to have a look (you do know there is no lawyer, don’t you?).

  17. Hmm.. Just for shits, I googled a paragraph from their “Tarmac Delay Contingency Plan”, “Global Ghana Airlines will provide adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in the case of a departure) or touches down (in the case of an arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.”

    Seems to read a lot like China Airlines’ contingency plan

    “China Airlines will provide adequate food and potable water no later than two hours after the aircraft leaves the gate (in the case of a departure) or touches down (in the case of an arrival) if the aircraft remains on the tarmac, unless the pilot-in-command determines that safety or security considerations preclude such service.”

    Baltia 2.0?

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