This follows severe agitations from British Airways travellers from London to Accra, mainly Ghanaians, threatened to boycott the airline if the operations on the London – Accra route are not changed from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 as other West African routes.
Ghanaians residing in the UK also planned a demonstration against the airline for operating the route from Terminal 3 and also what they described as the airline’s careless operations of the London – Accra route.
They alleged that bugs were even recently detection on a flight from London to Accra. They also protested against the airlines plans to curb baggage allowance on the route from two pieces at 23 kilos each to one piece at 23 kilos. For more than three weeks these issues dominated radio and TV discussions within the Ghanaian community in London.
The passengers claimed that Terminal 5 is more convenient and equipped with very modern state-of-the-art aviation facilities and all routes that are properly catered for by the airline are operating from here while routes with less attention from the airline are operated from other Terminals such as Terminal 3.
In an interview with Graphic Online in London, a spokeswoman for the airline noted that Heathrow Terminal 3 provides the eligible customers of the Accra route access to recently refreshed Galleries Club and First class lounge, as well as an Elemis travel spa, and the American Airlines arrivals lounge.
She said further improvements to Heathrow's lounges are also planned within the next few years to provide more comfort and security facilities at the Terminal 3.
The spokeswoman indicated that since the switchover of most of the BA African routes to Terminal 5, the airline has enhanced the check-in experience and made improvements to the security checks to speed up the process at Terminal 3 to march up to the status and facilities at Terminal 5
She debunked the notion of the Ghanaian passengers on the Accra route and argued that Terminal 3 is equally convenient to the main Heathrow transport hubs, providing easy access to bus and train services to London and other destinations even than Terminal 5.
She said, as the only airline to operate direct flights between the UK and Accra, BA will work hard to continue offering its customers daily flights from our main hub at Heathrow.
“The move to Terminal 3 came after Heathrow Airport's decision to close Terminal 1. This allowed us to consolidate our operations in two terminals. At the time a number of routes moved to Terminal 3 including Accra, Cape Town, Nairobi, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix and Vancouver. The long-haul cities were chosen due to the time of day they operate in and out of Heathrow and the type of 747 they use.” She observed
She said the Accra route is currently operated with The Boeing 747-400, which is the largest commercial aircraft operating out of Accra, and offers First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins.
She also dismissed the allegation that bugs were recently detected on an aircraft from London to Accra, she rather declared “I must challenge your assertion that there was a 'recent detection of bugs on a flight from London to Accra' adding that the comfort of customers is paramount, so as soon as this very rare issue was identified at Heathrow, we immediately took the aircraft out of service for treatment. We did that so customers travelling to Ghana would not be affected by the issue.” She insisted.
On the alleged plans to decrease baggage allowance on the route, the spokeswoman also indicated that there are no plans to decrease the baggage allowance on these flights saying “Customers have the very generous allowance of two pieces at 23kg each.”
She emphasised the equally high interest the airline has in all the routes it operates around the globe and said there will never be any form of discrimination as BA earns income from all routes.
“We’ve served Ghana for 80 years and it remains an important market for British Airways. We are proud to fly more than 45,000 customers between London and Africa every week and our colleagues work extremely hard to deliver consistently high standards in the air and on the ground.” She observed.
She noted that BA customers in Ghana would continue to benefit from the investments the airline is making in customer experience as they roll out. These said observed include investments in the latest technology in the air and on the ground, catering, our premium offerings and providing value in our economy cabins.
“In addition to our flights to Ghana, we have invested more than £6million in the country to support education programmes and projects dedicated to empowering girls and women, through our charity partnership with Comic Relief.” She added.