By Frank Amponsah
The President has revealed that government has given policy approval for the establishment of a Home-Based Carrier with private sector participation as part of efforts to fulfill its aviation-hub vision and also to enhance connectivity.
He maintained that the issue of air travel connectivity is very challenging in Africa hence 44 African Heads of State, in 1999, signed the Yamoussoukro Decision which is expected to open the skies and ease air travel on the continent.
The President said “It must be noted that, if this is fully implemented by all States, air transport will improve and guarantee lower fares and increase traffic on the continent. The implementation of the agreement, nonetheless, has been slow and limited, and the potential in liberalizing intra Africa air market remains
He said this when he addressed the 1st Aerospace and Aviation Exhibition for Africa held at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) yesterday.
The President mentioned that Ghana has shown commitment to improving connectivity on the African continent, by being amongst those who signed the Yamoussoukro Decision. I, therefore, want to use this opportunity to urge all industry stakeholders to play their part in the full implementation of the agreement to improve connectivity on the continent.
According to him, government is determined to create the enabling conditions for the private sector to thrive in the aviation industry in order to propel growth and create employment for the youth.
President Akufo-Addo also averred that government has re-created the Aviation Ministry to develop the Ghanaian aviation industry, and make it highly competitive within the West African region. And that there are on-going and up-coming projects in Ghana’s aviation sector, which will lead to an enhanced air travel experience.
He cited the construction of Terminal 3 at Kotoka International Airport (K.I.A) which will accommodate five (5) million passengers in the next 5 years , the construction of Modern Air Navigation Services Centre at K.I.A to ensure safety and security of aircrafts and passengers in our air space; and the construction of Phase II of both Kumasi and Tamale Airports as laudable steps government is undertaking in that regard.
For the President, all the investments in infrastructure and air navigation systems is to respond to anticipated traffic growth, and also to keep up with the vitality in technology that the aviation industry demands.
“It is the vision of Government to establish Ghana both
as an aviation hub within West Africa, and as the preferred destination of choice for travelers. Government hopes to achieve this by working with the private sector to offer modern, attractive air transport infrastructure, and by building capacity and establishing institutional and policy framework to enhance safety and security of air services,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo said, government is also committed to encouraging and supporting local airlines and entrepreneurs to set up strong private airlines that can fully utilize all the nation’s route rights and that through the Ministry of Aviation, government is reviewing initial Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) with its Contracting States.
“Additionally, the number of international airlines operating in the country has increased from 35 to 37 this year. These additions are Air France and Mid Africa Aviation (based in the Gambia). Other domestic airlines will, hopefully, follow suit soon. I have been reliably informed that the captain of our Senior National Team, the Black Stars, Asamoah Gyan, has obtained an Air Carrier License (ACL), and is working feverishly to establish an airline, called Baby Jet Airlines. I want to appeal to other Ghanaians, both home and abroad, to invest in the rapidly growing aviation sector,” he said.
He indicated that there is record increase in the number of airlines and passengers, both domestically and internationally, which has contributed meaningfully to the Ghanaian economy.
These achievements, he maintained, did not happen overnight, but for the effort of the Ministry of Aviation and its agencies, namely Ghana Airports Company Limited, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and other stakeholders in the aviation industry.
With Ghana determined to fulfill its role as the gate way to West Africa, Government is poised to build the most people-friendly and business-friendly economy in Africa, to boost the confidence of the private sector to invest in the Ghanaian economy.
He urged all investors to partner domestic counterparts so as to create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians.
According to him several airports within the continent are putting in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure safety and security and commended the Ghana Airports Company Ltd (GACL) for working hard, with the support of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), and other agencies, for K.I.A to be adjudged the 2017 Safety Awards Winner as “Best Improvement in Safety” by the Airports Council International (ACI), Africa. He said air transport was an industry that served as a catalyst that promoted the aviation industry and socio-economic growth for it supported 6.8 million jobs in Africa and the growth of Ghana’s aviation was 7.9 per cent per annum. On her part, Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, the Minister of Aviation, said the outlook for the Aviation industry remained brighter and called for great investment in the aviation sector and facilitate development.
She said, the demand for air travel has grown over the years and that there must be conscious efforts on part of government and sector players to boost its development through strategic partnerships and investments.