Bizarre Interview With Founder Of Global Ghana Airlines

Filed Under: Other Airlines

In September 2017 I first wrote about Global Ghana Airlines, a new startup airline that intended to operate nonstop flights between Chicago and Accra. At the time the airline announced that they’d begin operating flights within weeks.

There was only one slight problem. The airline didn’t actually exist. That’s to say that they didn’t have a plane, and they didn’t have any sort of approval from US or Ghanaian authorities (and as Baltia can attest to, that can take 30+ years to get).

In fact, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority accused Global Ghana Airlines of misleading consumers, and advised the public not to conduct business with the company.

Last December Global Ghana Airlines issued a press release assuring people they were legitimate, and stating that they had a new launch date of March 20, 2019.

So, what’s the latest on this airline in 2019?

The founder of Global Ghana Airlines had an interview this past week with an African radio station in Chicago.

You can watch the interview here, though note that it’s nearly three hours:

The Global Ghana Airlines founder shows up about an hour in, so you’ll want to start there, because the first hour largely isn’t in English.

OMG this interview is EPIC, and the lady sitting at the bottom left is basically me. Her facial expressions the entire time sum up how I feel about this airline.

I was only able to watch about 45 minutes of this before Ford asked why I’m listening to a Ghanaian radio station in Chicago, but boy was it entertaining.

A few of my favorite tidbits:

  • The founder repeatedly claims that the inaugural flight took place on September 31, 2018 (yes, the 31st!), though they “didn’t have enough participation, so the lease holders for the aircraft didn’t think it was a good idea”
  • He initially tried to get certification with the Ghana Civil Aviation authority because”it would elevate Ghana’s standard for aviation up, it would help Ghana, that’s what I wanted”
  • He doesn’t want investors, because “before I ask for investors, I want to make sure I’m using my own money, I want to go through the pain”
  • He also acknowledges that he needed $12,500 and didn’t have that, so he was loaned $7,000 by someone else (so good on him for not wanting to take money from other people, but $5,500 isn’t enough to start an airline)
  • He says launching in winter would have been a bad idea, because de-icing fluid is expensive
  • The fact he doesn’t have a plane isn’t a problem, because nowadays airlines just “codeshare,” apparently that’s the name of the game; without any other specifics, he also says that they are using Hi Fly to operate the flight (which is a wet lease charter operator)
  • They had issues getting flight attendants because “there are two types of flight attendants — high altitude flight attendants and low altitude flight attendants,” and unfortunately the flight attendant they hired was a low altitude flight attendant, so they had to start over
  • They almost had a catering contract, but that person wanted to deliver the Ghanian food hot, so if the flight doesn’t go, what do they do with the food?

What I don’t understand about Global Ghana Airlines

I feel pretty confident saying that this airline won’t be flying anytime soon, and that the whole business seems like a joke. What I can’t wrap my head around is what the motive of the founder is:

  • He has spent years on this project, and aside from a loan of $7,000, he apparently hasn’t taken money from anyone else, and hasn’t sold seats, etc.
  • He’s an aviation geek and knows a fair bit about the industry
  • Surely he knows he’s not being fully honest in terms of the timeframe he puts forward and the logistics he’s sharing

For example, he talks about getting flight attendants, etc., but if he were to use Hi Fly, they’re a wet lease company, so they provide the crew. Similarly, it’s going to take more than a few thousand dollars to start an airline, so how does he plan on doing that if he’s not willing to take money from investors?

This is all just so strange to me. It’s not like Baltia, where they took tens of millions of dollars for investors, and tried to string them along for decades. Rather this almost seems like a practical joke, but I don’t get the upside?

Anyway, if you have a couple of hours today and are bored, be sure to watch the above interview!

Comments
  1. Sept 31 2019 for the inaugural flight?
    A non existent date in the future?
    Hahaha glad I missed it.

  2. @ Pete — Whoops, sorry, that should have read September 31, 2018 — a non-existent day in the past. 😉

  3. Why do you write that he is an aviation geek and knows a fair bit about the industry? Everything you quote from the interview seems to be complete nonsense. Low-altitude flight attendants???

  4. 31 September 2018 lol

    Ask him to show photos of the inaugural flight , together with a picture of their aircraft

    Ask hi fly for details of their wet lease agreement ?

    Low and high altitude crew ? Wtf

    And I guess in order to pay for tickets , direct bank transfers to an anonymous account in Ghana .. or possibly Nigeria

    I cannot believe someone can claim this airline exists and has been operating flights and yet there is no evidence to support it. No traffic rights

    Chicago ?
    The largest Ghanaian diaspora is in a the New York area with around 36000 followed by Washington with 18000 Chicago has around 5000.

    Delta operates a service to Accra from New York

  5. @Brad: Add to that list “I love ___ food” (insert demonym, “Omani” coming up fairly frequently).

  6. Even if he is not taking money from investors, is he taking money from the public or government grants in another way that may make this lucrative? Or could it be a front for money laundering?

  7. @ Soltatio — I can’t think of any way he’s taking money from either the governments of the US or Ghana, no.

  8. I listened to substantially all of this interview. It is fascinating and I learned a lot of things that I had not previously been aware about, despite many years in the airline business.

    Kudos to him for believing in a dream and pursuing it. Too many people take a negative attitude towards disruptive entrepreneurs like this, so it is refreshing to see someone influential like Ben giving him the publicity he so obviously deserves.

  9. This is hilariously bizarre. They may not have any U.S./Ghana operating clearances, They may not even have aircraft. But, oh yes, they do have a (flygga.com) website. If you look at the background info on the “Leadership,” you discover: “In addition to his roles with Global Ghana Airlines and ISO Aeronautics Training Institute, Mr. O’Toole also works as an Aviation Consultant for the Chicago Public School system.” I did not realize that the Chicago Public School system has a need for an Aviation Consultant. 🙂

  10. From the way he describes his business it sounds like he is a booking agent currently not an actual flight operator.

    Plane Partnership programs are nothing new – For example Star Alliance is 27 different airlines.
    Essentially a Booking Agent does all the leg work, they reservations for customers, the airport terminals and necessary licensing and security. A partner will then let them use the plane and or staff to send them to the destination.

    Reservations in major airports are extremely expensive and even quite valuable to airlines. Some carriers actually have ghost flights ( empty flights ) to keep their reservation time.

    For more info on that;
    https://jalopnik.com/londons-heathrow-airport-sometimes-hosts-ghost-flights-1827724434

    So essentially the reason other airlines may agree to partner is generally because they have empty planes that need to go to nearby destinations. He offers them a large percentage of the ticket fare for simply flying while he handles the paperwork.

    That would explain the low overhead.
    With that said it is not really a viable business model. Unless you constantly have flights booked – you are going to lose your terminal space. Which means he is going to eventually need to get his own plane ( ideally minimum 3 ) to create a functioning airline.

    P.S
    If you Discord commenting system would make life easier for many readers.

  11. Ben,

    I had to smile at your story about the new “Global Ghana Airlines”, since I knew how it would end, even before I read it.

    In the late 90s, I worked for an international nonprofit agency that was funded to support health solutions in low resource countries like Ghana. One prototype project they sponsored was working with local officials in a remote village to host a prefabricated health clinic. The clinic had a waiting room and a doctor’s examining room, and was totally self-contained, with a water filtrations system, electricity, and rudimentary internet communications using solar power. The village officials needed to build a foundation for the clinic and provide a source for water.

    We would receive regular reports about the progress of the project, including photos showing the groundbreaking (with a ceremonial holy man blessing the land), the construction of the foundation, and local workers dealing with the crates that contained the prefabricated panels for the floor, walls, and roof. We dutifully published those photos along with stories about how this project would prove to be an affordable solution to providing healthcare in poor, rural areas.

    An official from one of the major funders was in Ghana for a visit and wanted to travel to the site. She was warned that it was a difficult three-day journey over unpaved roads. She insisted.

    Of course, you know what happened. When she arrived in the village, she found a large hole in the ground, but no foundation, and no clinic. When asked for an explanation, the town leaders said that they had run into some problems because of the weather and the terrain, and therefore had to postpone the project. They did not want to disappoint the sponsors, so they had provided photos of what the project “would have looked like” had they been able to stay on schedule. They insisted the clinic would be finished soon. They had no sense of having done anything wrong.

    The clinic never happened, and the materials for the clinic strangely disappeared. Welcome to life in the developing world!

  12. This is coming across as an attempt to destroy this guy’s vision. The ladies on the programme have displayed some level of ignorance. A businessman should not have millions neither does he have to open up his business model for everyone.

    He also doesn’t need to brand a chartered airline with his logo. Unfortunately, the poor guy had to borrow money and misquote his date. Sorry to hear if he suffered from stroke and wish him a speedy recovery. Don’t run him down if you cannot help him achieve this fantastic dream.

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