The Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) is aggressively working to increase capacity and improve the operating efficiencies of the country’s airports.
The GACL is doing this by upgrading and expanding the infrastructure base at the airports, improving service facilities and developing new regional aerodromes.
The Managing Director of the GACL, Mr Charles K. Asare, who announced this at the company’s 3rd annual general meeting in Accra, said the move formed part of strategic decisions aimed at making Ghana the hub of aviation in the West African sub-region.
“We will continue with our strategic focus to expand our airport infrastructure and facilities, improve customer service at all our airports and enhance our facilitation processes to ensure a pleasant airport experience for our passengers and stakeholders,” he said.
He further explained, “We will increase capacity and improve the operating efficiencies of our existing airports at KIA, Kumasi, Tamale and Sunyani. We also intend to commence the construction of new airstrips in Ho and upgrade the Wa airstrip to facilitate commercial operations,” he said.
In improving service efficiencies, Mr Asare said the GACL would make use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to eliminate gaps that slow down businesses at the various airports.
“A gap analysis has been conducted to identify operational and business processing gaps to eliminate them as part of the company’s continual efforts to improve business processes. A new data centre is being constructed to make this a reality,” he said.
Ebola affects flights
The outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014 destabilised some economies, crippled the tourism business and the economies of some West African countries dropped significantly.
He explained that passenger traffic was 1.65 million in 2014, showing a decrease of 1.2 per cent compared with the previous year’s performance of 1.67 million; something he attributed to the Ebola epidemic in some countries within the West Africa sub-region.
“With the spread of the deadly hemorrhagic disease, airlines operating to affected countries took drastic measures, including suspension of flights to the affected routes.
This contributed to the decline of passenger movements at the Kotoka International Airport,” he said.
He added that “decrease in flight operations by some airlines, including Africa World, Kenya Airways, and Air Cote d’Ivoire, as well as Delta Airlines, resulted in significant shortfalls in both aircraft and passenger movements.”
In spite of the adverse effects of the Ebola crisis on air transport, passenger numbers rebounded in 2014.
Ghana recorded a passenger throughput of 2,369,538 resulting in Ghana being ranked in Africa as the 19th busiest airport by the Airports Council International ahead of Abidjan.
In 2014, cargo throughput was 54,383, registering a position of seventh in Africa.
On the financial performance of the company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr Tony Lithur, said “the company’s financial performance improved from a profit of GH¢19.1million in 2013 to Gh¢184.1 million in 2014.”
“This is reflective of our consistent strategy of growing revenue and managing costs in the face of the highly competitive business environment,” he said, adding that “this was largely due to enhanced passenger service charges retained as well as effective cost management practices”.