The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has restricted Delta Air Lines, a major US carrier, from dispatching a particular Boeing 767 to Accra over technical issues. On August 19, the Ghanaian aviation regulator decided to ban Delta’s B767-300ER, registered as N195DN, from flying to Ghana after a series of technical faults and delays associated with the particular aircraft.
Series of technical glitches
The 24.9-year-old Boeing 767 operating flights between New York JFK and Accra can’t fly into Ghana’s airspace as it faces a temporary ban from the African country’s authorities. Citing a series of technical glitches encountered by the particular aircraft multiple times, GCAA wrote a letter to Delta, advising the carrier not to dispatch the specific B767 for flights to Accra with immediate effect and to put in place a plan to replace it with another aircraft type on the JFK-ACC-JFK route as soon as practicable.
The first issue involving N195DN occurred on July 24 when the flight DL156 bound for Kotoka International Airport, originating from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, got canceled after one of the pilots didn’t show up. The replacement flight DL9923, operated by the same aircraft, departed for Accra a day later only to turn around and return to New York, reportedly following a fuel imbalance.
On July 25, B767 N195DN took off from JFK runway 22R at 5:13 pm local time and was flying over the Atlantic Ocean when it reported a fuel imbalance in-flight and was forced to make a U-turn to the departure airport. After about 2 hours and 17 minutes into the flight, the crew decided to return to New York out of an abundance of caution. The plane made a safe landing uneventfully at New York’s runway 13R, approximately two and a half hours after turning around over the Atlantic.
The next incident happened on August 1 when the same exact aircraft developed a mechanical issue prior to departure from the Ghanaian capital back to New York. On July 31, the aircraft performed the JFK-ACC route and landed in Accra without any incident on August 1. But, as it was about to operate the return flight, just after leaving the gate at ACC, N195DN had a problem that forced the airline to cancel the flight. Delta arranged another B767 aircraft to ferry stranded passengers back to JFK while the plagued aircraft remained on the ground for the next two days before finally flying to Atlanta on August 3.
The string of technical issues continued to affect the operations of Delta Boeing 767 aircraft on the New York-Accra route, testing the patience of Ghanaian civil aviation authorities. A couple of weeks later, the plane again suffered a technical problem while operating a flight from JFK to Accra on August 13, pushing GCAA over the edge. On that day, the jetliner was forced to return to the gate over a mechanical snag, causing the flight delay. Although the flight wasn’t canceled, the passengers arrived at Accra nearly 2 hours behind the original schedule.
Enough of the technical issue saga
Ghana Authorities have had enough of the technical issues faced by N195DN Boeing 767 aircraft, and after the August 13 incident, they no longer found this acceptable and banned the particular aircraft from flying into the country’s airspace. The GCAA maintained that it was expected of Delta to thoroughly investigate the issue after such a negative reportage, but rather the aircraft was deployed again on the Accra flight, only to face problems again.
Keeping in view the aging B767 fleet being of much concern to Ghanaian traveling, the regulator directed the Atlanta-based carrier to change the aircraft on the New York-Accra route soon.
Delta’s comment on GCAA’s letter
The Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines issued a statement saying that it continued to be in talks with the GCAA to reiterate its commitment to offering the highest level of safety to Ghanaian customers and that the carrier would comply entirely with the directives outlined by the GCAA. It further said that the jetliner was fully compliant with all safety and technical requirements after carrying out its own inspections and maintenance.
Delta 767-332 N195DN aircraft
Boeing 767-332 N195DN aircraft is a 24.9-year-old widebody aircraft belonging to the Delta fleet. Delivered to Delta on September 30, 1997, the aircraft managed to log more than 106,000 aeronautical flight hours until April 30, 2022.