Tension Mounts At Kotoka As Ghana Airport Company Breaks Ground Rules of Engagement

Experts and players in the aviation industry in Ghana are expressing worries over the decision of the Ghana Airport Company as a regulator of allow the Air Ghana Perishable Cargo Centre Limited to operate as an under wing service provider at the Kotoka International Airport.

This alleged act of dereliction of duty on the part of the Ghana Airport Company, which experts say constitute a security risk at the airport, is further compounded by its decision to partner Chief Executive Officer of A.G.P.C.C. Limited, Mr. Marwan Traboulsi, former board member of Aviance Ghana Limited to register a third Ground Handling Operator to compete with the existing two (2) Ground Handling Operators currently registered with the Ghana Airport Company Limited.

AHS Menzies, which started its operations in 2007, is the 2nd Ground Handling Company in addition to Aviance Ghana Limited at the Kotoka International Airport.

Sources close to the airport company, indicated to this paper that, the turn of events at the Kotoka International Airport under the Airport Company is becoming very worrying because by allowing Air Ghana Perishable Cargo Center to handle nonperishable cargo and to operate as an underwing operator is a violation of the terms in licenses granted both Menzies and Aviance and utterly undermines the commitment and he understanding that only two service provides would be allowed to operate at the airport due to its capacity and the low aircraft movement of a turnover of less than eighty thousand (8000) per annum.

The source said that this very critical understanding appears to have been abandoned in view of the failure of the Ghana Airport Company limited to properly regulate activities of the Air Ghana Perishable Cargn Center, which is completely different from the management contract signed between the Airport Company and the Air Perishable company, which is in clear violation of the laid down security procedures at the airport.

Investigations conducted by this papeq confirm that, in accordance with the terms of the Contract No: 1401111-1: Contract for Management Services, Concession Agreement: GACL-AGPC, which was signed on the 4th of April 2012, the management company (Air Ghana) is expected to process for export only perishable cargo through the Kotoka International Perishable Cargo centre, a government facility built with finance from the Millennium Development Authority.

The management company, (Air Ghana) is required to pay Royalty Fee at a minimum of 15% of Gross Annual Perishable Cargo Revenue over the five (5) years concession period.

As part of the agreement, Air Ghana Perishable Cargo Centre is obliged to install an accounting system in which all relevant data is recorded and transmitted via computer system link-up to Ghana Airport Company in order to determine the turn over from all operations for the purposes of determining the Royalties payable to Ghana Airport Company Limited.

This paper can confirm that contrary to the terms of the management contract agreement with the ground handlers, Mr. Marwan Traboulsi and Mr. Michael J. MAGUIRE both senior board members of AVIANCE and manages of Ghana Air have been allowed in a bizarre circumstance, to handle its cargo to the aircraft and handover to the agent to load onto the flight.

According to experts, the Mandated security procedures regulating exports at the airport require that all cargo for export must be delivered to ground Handling Service Provider for clearance at a nominated scanner located at the airport.

Strangely enough, due to this unholy alliance between Ghana Airport Company and AGPCC, perishable Cargo are delivered by DHL, processed and sent directly to the aircraft without the involvement of either a ground handling operator or a nominated scanner.

Furthermore, contrary to the terms of the management contract of the KIA, perishable cargo facility, Air Ghana Company acting as a ground handling service provider has entered into a private commercial contract on behalf of Tullow Oil without paying any royalties to either Ghana Civil Aviation Authority or the Ghana Airport Company.

According to the source, the non-cooperative attitude and hostile stance adopted by the former Chief Executive of the airport company, Madam Fianko, the an authorized operation by Marwan Traboulsi coupled with the information that a third handler is in the offing, is what has caused some airlines including some domestic airline operator to either demand a reduction in the rates chargeable at the Kotoka International Airport. Some of the airlines even threaten to relocate so some other destinations.

This paper can confirm that sometime in September 2013, in a similar move to increase the number of domestic airlines at the Kotoka International Airport, both the C.E.O of Star Bow, Mr. James Eric Antwi and Antrak Chairman Alhaji Asuma Banda hinted to withdraw from Ghana to other West African Countries if the authority did not address their concerns, including the issue of market size, low fares, high costs in fuel and maintenance.

In a quick reaction to the hints to relocate to other destinations, the Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Kwame Mamphey assured the domestic operators that the authority had no intention to license any new domestic operator as the four carriers are sufficient for the market.

This paper can confirm that between the years 2010 and now, the Ghana Aviation Industry has lost about six (6) international airlines for the same reasons raised by the domestic airlines. BRUSSEL AIR LINES, VIRGIN ATLANTIC, UNTIED AIR LINES, SAUDI-ARABIA AIR LINES, TMA Cargo, VIRGIN Nigeria,

It is the refusal of the Ghana Airport Company Limited to restrain the AGPC from operating as a general ground handler and the announcement of a further partnership to set up as a full handler breaching a license agreement held by Aviance Ghana Limited which has fuelled the confrontation with the Airport Company which is currently before the commercial Division of the High court.

This reporter can confirm that a visit to the Aviance Cargo Warehouse area shows a complete defiant attitude of the Airport Company notwithstanding the court proceedings.

It is for these reasons that the union leadership of the two companies at the local level is considering a massive Ukrainian type of “Tweaaaa” demonstration to draw government’s attention to the situation at the airport, a source disclosed.

Readers should stay tuned for more mindboggling revelations.