Feature Article of Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Columnist: National Democrat
It will be an understatement to say the Kufuor-led NPP government handed over an unhealthy economy to the incoming Mills Administration in January 2009; what was handed over was an economy in tatters.
However, in less than four years, President Mills has managed to turn a very bad situation into a good one through sound- economic management. Refusing to travel in a 35-man convoy or take his per diem, he managed to cut waste in government and channeled much-needed cash into vital areas in the economy.
From today, the National Democrat will be publishing for readers’ perusal the several achievements that President Mills has chalked in just three years staring from the Transport sector with today’s edition devoted to the Aviation sub-sector.
ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE AVIATION SUB-SECTOR UNDER MILLS
The aviation sub-sector has undergone tremendous growth in recent times both at the international and at the domestic level. This is a reflection of the stable political, social and economic atmosphere and prudent policies of Government, especially the implementation of the liberalized skies policy.
Passenger throughput for the period under review has continued to increase. For example, the number of international passengers for January to August, 2010 compared to the same period in 2011 has increased by 16.7%, that is, from about 900,000 to over 1,000,000.
Most significantly, in the domestic front, the increase for the same period is about 29.6% rising from just over 81,000 to about 106,000 passengers. This is as a result of the introduction of two (2) new airlines namely: Aero Survey (Starbow) and Fly540 which has led to increased business in the aviation industry, increased revenue generation, provided more options for domestic travelers, increased competition resulting in lower air fares and creation of employment.
With regard to infrastructure development, three (3) additional Boarding Gates were constructed at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) during the year to bring the total to five (5). This has helped to reduce congestion at KIA with the increasing number of passengers, especially during the peak periods.
Work on the refurbishment, upgrading and expansion of the Domestic Terminal for international operations has started and is currently 90% complete. This will help in improving the efficiency of handling the increasing number of international flights/passengers.
In order to reduce passenger handling times and also be in tune with industry innovations and best practice, self-check-in equipment and software have been installed at KIA to facilitate passenger processing. The system provides a state-of-the-art information display for passengers, showing arrival, departure and boarding gate information.
The construction of new parking aprons and taxiway is underway. The new aprons will create eight (8) additional parking spaces to accommodate wide body aircraft to meet the increase in frequency of flights. The project has commenced
An ultra-modern Fire Station has been completed and handed over as at March, 2011. In addition, the servicing and refurbishment of fire tenders are also being undertaken and is about 95% complete. These projects are among the safety measures being adopted to forestall any unforeseen emergency and improve response time within and around the airport city.
To ensure improvement in the water supply system, a water development and storage systems project has been completed at KIA to provide continuous water supply to all parts of the airport at all times. This will also go a long way to improve basic hygiene conditions at the airport.
The construction of a perishable cargo centre is being undertaken under the Millennium Challenge Account to handle perishable cargo for export by our local farmers. This will ensure that the produce are fresh when exported and also enable farmers to be paid the right value for their goods. A new landing aid, Doppler VHF Omni-directional Radio Range, has been installed to help pilots to navigate safely and efficiently to or from KIA under all weather conditions without the need to depend on Air Traffic Controllers for information.
Navigational equipment, an ADS-C/CPDLC Communication System has also been installed to improve communication between pilots and controllers, especially, in the oceanic/remote regions where there is no radar coverage for enhanced navigation services. These are all measures being taken to ensure aviation safety and security as prescribed by international standards.
The year 2011 also saw the implementation of IATA Flexible Routing (IFLEX) routes programme. This programme was introduced to reduce flight times, fuel consumption and carbon emissions to guide the Pilot in the most efficient route to use.
An Automatic Weather Observation System and an Automatic Terminal Information equipment have been installed to enhance communication with aircraft. This provides weather information on continuous basis; i.e. every 30 minutes.
In order to enhance the human resource base of the industry, training facilities within the Ghanaian aviation industry have been improved to meet international mandatory aviation training standards. The GCAA is currently in partnership with IATA to provide training in its Aviation Training Academy. This has reduced the cost of providing aviation training which would have been done abroad. The GCAA also rehabilitated its Electronic Training School with the aim of providing training locally and also for the sub-region.
Air Carrier Licenses (ACL) were issued by GCAA to three (3) other Ghanaian airlines; Africa World Airlines for scheduled passenger & cargo services, BF Jet Air Ghana Ltd. for non-scheduled executive jet charter services and Century Aviation for non-scheduled helicopters & fixed wing services.
A number of airlines are undergoing their certification process and we expect them to finish the process in 2012. These include: Eagle Atlantic, NHV Aviation Ltd., Pison Airways Ltd., Africa World Ltd.
As a response to requests by our international trading partners, during the year, Tap Air, from Portugal, has commenced operationsand Royal Jordanian Airlines is also expected to commence operations before the end of the year. In our quest to regain the FAA Category One status, the GCAA is currently restructuring and reviewing systems and procedures in this regard and a number of technical corrective measures are being put in place. This will enable a Ghanaian carrier to fly direct to the US. The above will also enhance Ghana’s airspace as a safe aviation hub and attract other airlines to Ghana with the related benefits of employment generation among others.
We are also mindful of creating employment opportunities for our people and as a result, the Ghana Airports Company Ltd. created 321 new jobs and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority also employed 37 new staff into various departments of the Authority.
Due to the outstanding performance and achievements of Ghana’s aviation sub-sector, KIA was awarded the coveted “Best African Airport Marketing of the year 2011” at the Routes Africa Forum in Bamako, Mali. KIA was again adjudged “Regional Winner” at the World’s Route Marketing awards in Berlin, Germany in October, 2011. KIA also won the “Best Security and Safety conscious Airport in West Africa for the year 2011” conferred by Security Watch Africa in Banjul, Gambia in October, 2011.
It is also no mean achievement that the Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Ltd. won the prestigious “CIMG Marketing Woman of the year 2011”.
In recognition of the strides in the aviation sub-sector, Imani Ghana, in its second edition of “Top 5 Most Inspirational Leaders in Ghana” named the Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Ltd. and the Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority as the winners for 2011.
A 2.473 million dollar Perishable Cargo Centre (PCC) at the Kotoka International Airport was inaugurated in Accra on February 15th 2012. The Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) will provide handling and transit storage of perishable produce mainly fruits and vegetables for export. It will also form part of an integrated cold chain for the horticultural sub-section required to achieve a better produce, quality and higher export market price.