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Feature Article of Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Columnist: Klatsi, Joe

Can General Aviation Airports be part of .....

the Economic Development Engines For Ghana’s Development?

In my first article (http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=243512) on the above subject matter, some hold the view that roads and railways should have precedent over General Aviation airports in Ghana because they expensive built. We can also make a case for the high cost of road and rail constructions with their associated terminals and maintenance cost.
We can all agree that all of the above mode of transportation should be employed to support all aspect of the economy.
First of all, General Aviation include aerial work, agriculture, flying schools , aircraft maintenance schools, tourism, sport and business aviation etc and does not include all aircraft that are operated by Commercial aviation (scheduled flights) and military.
It is clear that from above that Infrastructure for General Aviation can create the needed jobs and revenue for Ghana. Among the many airport support are emergency medical flights, search and rescue operations, aerial applications to control insects (Mosquitoes), crop dusting (helps in reduction in crop lost), fire fighting, law enforcement (aerial surveillance can easily track crimes and conflicts in really time) and news reporting.
Once again, General Aviation, the backbone of the aviation industry should be included in the effort to revitalize aviation in Ghana and the sub-region to support developments.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the 21st century, airports will shape business location and urban development as much as highways did in the 20th century, railroads in the 19th and seaports in the 18th.
It is therefore import that Ghanaians demand leaders to come out with General Aviation airport plans to develop the country. Often less noticed is the role airports play in supporting in-country travel.

We are all aware that, it’s all about planning and funding of the vision. When we focus on a vision, it creates forward thinking. Plans should be based on a defined vision - not current budget limitations,
personnel constraints or circumstances. A vision becomes powerful when supported by a detailed plan of action, that: brings opposing factions into the fold, concentrates on years of window, and encourages risk taking.

With Ghana roads increasingly congested and sometimes dangerous ( highway robbery), air travel is a viable and essential alternative to road travel. Each month, tens of business, recreational, tourist-related, and charter flights can enhance travel between large and small communities throughout the country.

Ghana’s growing resident population and the relative tourism growth, and the country’s renewed focus on business/industry development presents a unique opportunity for Ghana’s airports to thrive. Use of traditional and innovative financing for airport development will enable Ghana’s general aviation airports to take root to meet the need for airport facilities.
Creation of educational programs for the airport and aviation industry in Ghana will assure each airport management team is exposed to the latest thinking in economic development theories and practice.

Airports should be seen as an economic development tool that can be integrated into the overall development plans of the Ghanaian communities.
Airports generate revenue from landing fees, terminal fees, concessions and other incomes .
The airport’s operating revenue can support its operating expenses, and other non-operating expenditures, such as capital development if managed properly.
Airports and aviation services can play a critical role in Ghana’s economic and community development.

It is about time leaders of the country should create a larger decision space for citizens, especially the young ones to chose and achieve their dreams.

By Joe Klatsi, Aircraft Maintenance and Aerospace Engineer.
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