I have written about Ghana Airways in general in a two part blog entry whose parts can be found here and here, however in this post I want to look at just one of the types operated by the airline - namely the DC-9. It appears that Ghana Airways first exposure to the type was in March 1976 when they leased a Hughes Airwest example, N914RW, for three months. This was followed by a Hawaiian Airlines DC-9-51, N629HA, on lease from January 1977 to April 1978. The Ghana Airways fleet during the mid-70s was rather interesting consisting of a single HS-748 (9G-ABX - the survivor of a pair), two F28s (9G-ABZ and ACA), 1 Vickers VC10 (9G-ABO) and a Douglas DC-8 (9G-ACG).
The long serving DC-9-51 had her career ended not by retirement but unfortunately by accident. On Saturday April 12, 1997 she was damaged beyond repair attempting to land at Abidjan in the Ivory Coast in heavy rainfall and poor visibility. Whilst undertaking an instrument landing she touched down 900 metres down the wet runway, veered to the left and ran off the tarmac. Her undercarriage collapsed but she came to a stop and fortunately there were no fatalities.
Far from being the end of the DC-9 story at troubled Ghana Airways however the airline took the highly unusual step of acquiring replacement DC-9s rather than leasing more modern equipment. In fact as with the DC-10 fleet the airline underwent a mini-expansion. The first aircraft to arrive was registered 9G-ADT in September 1997. She was joined by 9G-ADU in November and 9G-ADY in July 1999.
ADT had started life as N923VJ with Allegheny in December 1975 but was sold, along with their other series 51s, to Eastern, as N404EA, in May 1978. Following Eastern’s demise she became YV-90C with AVENSA. 9G-ADU had a similar history whilst 9G-ADY was amazingly the same aircraft that had been leased in the 70s from Hawaiian. Her second spell with Ghana was sadly cut short as she damaged beyond repair in a crash landing at Conakry in Guinea on Monday November 13, 2000. Again there were no fatalities. She had been operating a multi-stop Accra-Abidjan-Monrovia-Freetown-Conakry route at the time.
Ghana Airways limped into the 2000s with a variety of rescue plans failing. Its own DC-9s appear to have been parked at accra by late 2003 but the failing carrier kept faith with the trusty, but uneconomic, DC-9-51 and wet leased a pair from Africa One in July 2003. Both were returned in 2004 and in 2005 the entire carrier was liquidated. Though fairly obscure Ghana's DC-9 was no doubt familiar to thousands of passengers who flew on her and 9G-ACM nearly unique amongst her type, except for the airline's misguided devotion to the old Diesel Nine.
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: