Ghana Airways was quick to get an interest in the new jets on offer and during 1960 when it was ordering Viscounts and IL-18s it also ordered a pair of Boeing 707-420s and three VC10s. The airline had grandiose dreams of flying the 707s to the United States and Australia but the financial troubles of 1961 put paid to those and instead it had to wait a while longer before it could really join the jet age.
The order for a pair of Boeing 707-420s was cancelled in 1961 when they couldn't be financed and the airline's pool agreement with BOAC ended in 1963 after a competing agreement was signed with Alitalia. The airline had also ordered VC10s but unlike the 707s these were not cancelled. Prior to their service entry a single Swissair Convair 990 was leased in (she gained Ghana titles and a flag on her Swiss tail) to supplement the Britannias.
The photo below is used with permission of Bob Garrard and can be found on flickr here.
This arrangement lasted until February 1965 when the first VC-10 (9G-ABO) replaced the CV-990 on the London route. The second VC10 (9G-ABP) arrived mid year and enabled jet service to Beirut. The VC10s were configured to seat 107 passengers (20 first class and 87 economy) and wore the same colours as the Britannias. Both Britannias were removed from service with the arrival of the first VC10 in February 1965. 9G-AAG became G-ANCH and was sold to IAS Cargo International Aviation Services after some years in storage. She was broken up at Biggin Hill in August 1973.
Prior to independence the Gold Coast was one of the wealthiest African nations and had built up reserves of $190 million. President Nkrumah's policies of rapid industrialisation though responsible for some impressive achievements, like the Akosombo dam on the Volta River, also created much waste and corruption. By 1966 the government was in debt by $250 million. Nkrumah's policies had created many enemies and that year Nkrumah was overthrown by the army.
The new leadership cutback Ghana Airway's loss making network and returned the last of the IL-18s (and a single AN-12). Two other VC10s were never delivered and one of the delivered pair (9G-ABP) was leased to MEA in 1967. Sadly she was destroyed on December 28, 1968 in an Israeli commando raid at Beirut. She wasn't directly replaced and her lone sister, 9G-ABO acquired a new and very attractive scheme (shown above) in the 1970s. She continued in service until 1980 when she was withdrawn and stored at Prestwick. After ABO’s retirement Ghana leased a KLM DC-10 until their own example could be delivered. Ghana Airways also operated an ex-Pan Am and Delta DC-8-33 in the mid-late 70s as 9G-ACG, though I'm not sure she ever received full Ghana Airways colours.
Ghana’s flag carrier entered the 1980s with a modern fleet of 2 F28s, 1 DC-9-51 and the leased KLM DC-10. It wasn’t until February 24, 1983 that the airline’s own DC-10 (9G-ANA) arrived and the European network expanded to include Amsterdam and Frankfurt as well as London. A wet lease agreement was also maintained with Caribbean Airlines operating between Barbados and Gatwick. 9G-ANA wore what i think was a unique and more colourful scheme than the rest of the fleet:
September 1994 saw the start of services to New York and the DC-10 fleet expanded to four aircraft in 2000. The airline’s finances however were not looking so good and in 2002 9G-ANA was impounded because of debts. In the next years the carrier’s reputation took a beating and in 2004 it was banned from the USA. 9G-ANA was impounded again, this time at Rome, and parted out after June 2005 when Ghana Airways finally succumbed to liquidation following the failure of several rescue packages.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: