Ghana will be operating its own home-based air carrier by the second quarter of this year, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Joseph Adda, has stated.
He said the ministry had already entered into an understanding with Ethiopian Airlines and was also engaging with some investors who wanted to participate in the effort.
He disclosed that there would be further negotiations held in February that would be concluded by the end of March when “hopefully the operationalisation of a home-based carrier will commence”.
Mr Adda made the disclosure at a stakeholders meeting held at Aburi in the Eastern Region last Wednesday on the theme: ‘Aviation – catalyst for Ghana’s Socio-Economic Development’.
He said in line with ensuring safety in the airline’s operations, services provided by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) would be upgraded to meet global standards.
“We’re going to review what is happening in other parts of the world and would add up new technology to already existing ones to enable us provide safe navigation, and the GCAA is going to feed us with information on how to undertake that,” he said.
According to the minister, the GCAA would ensure that all services that went with operating an airline: pilot, cabin crew, technicians, hangar and so on were modelled in a manner that would serve the country’s purpose.
He added that the authority was working with investor partners to come up with the best model.
Mr Adda further revealed that investors in the business would set up pilot training facilities and cabin crew training programmes in Ho and Tamale.
“This would be an opportunity for those Ghanaian youth who are technology inclined and would like to become pilots and airline technicians to get themselves trained to achieve their goals,” he said.
The Aviation Minister said, together with the Ministry of Finance, a portfolio was going to be set up to add up to the Student Loan Trust, so that intelligent but less endowed Ghanaians who are technically skilled would come by funds to train as pilots and airline technicians.
He said the ministry had also secured funding for work on phase two of the Kumasi Airport project which hopefully would be completed soon for work on phase three to begin. Furthermore, he said, work on phase two of the Tamale Airport expansion which include the construction of a Hajj and cargo village terminal would commence soon.
The Minister of Aviation nonetheless expressed his displeasure over the state of the Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport.
He said the terminal required some modifications to provide further safeguards and a Ghanaian touch to the structure.
Presently, he said, there was no separate route or tunnel that ensures incoming passengers were safe and secure and stressed that the phenomenon was below global standards and required further work to be done on it.
He said the work must include a touch of Ghanaian culture such as Adinkra symbols and the national colours on the airside and landside to distinguish it from other airport terminals around the world.
“This is important to make the first-time visitor to Ghana perceive a difference from other countries.
“The terminal is beautiful but I think something more could be added and am urging the Ghana Airport Company to work on it,” he added.