Business News of Thursday, 22 January 2015
Deputy Minister for Transport Joyce Bawa-Mogtari says government quest to establish an international airline is on course. Speaking on Business Trends with George Wiafe, she said the airline would start operation by September 2015 barring any unforeseen hitches.
According to her, the only thing that could offset deadline for the commencement of the airline as projected “might be challenges with certification because it takes about three to six months to obtain an international certification as contained in the pre-feasibility report which was presented to the stakeholders recently.”
The initiative is being financed by a part of a US$30million Public Private Partnership programme facility from the World Bank.
Price Waterhouse Coopers – an international consulting firm appointed as a transactional advisor has since submitted an interim report to government for consideration. PwC is expected to undertake studies to develop various models and evaluate bids for establishment of the new flag-carrier.
Madam Bawa-Mogtari said “the president realizes that there are several untapped benefits which we can also tap into if we introduce a national carrier, not just for the investment opportunity it provides or the job creation aspect of it but also that we would be advertising a brand that represents our country and its uniqueness.
“What we’re trying to do is develop our tourist industry. Several international hubs have developed because they have actually developed their tourist sector and government wants to do same.”
Mrs. Bawa-Mogtari also intimated that the rehabilitation works at the Tamale Airport is scheduled for completion by September 2015.
Speaking about the Kumasi airport, the Deputy Minister added “I think that we have actually worked very hard to improve upon what we have. What we look forward to is that the next few years we see phenomenal growth in the aviation sector and his Excellency has promised that by improving upon our infrastructure we can return the aviation sector to the hub that we all imagine and wish it to be.”
She added, “a lot of expansion works, rehabilitation works and of course improvement is ongoing in the aviation sector. The Hon Minister herself has given assurance that our one international airport will be seeing the best face-lift of all and indeed despite the complaints that we receive, I believe that the number of persons who have actually utilized that facility in recent times will bear testimony to the fact that the improvements are quite obvious, that they are effective and making the airport even more efficient.”
A former Chief Commercial Manager of Antrak Air, Mr. Kweku Antwi Boasiako who joined the conversation via phone asserted that the challenges with the aviation sector have more to do with resources, and how they are allocate in the country.
He stated that the country has “quite a little pot to share around, there are competing demands for our national income and so government prioritizes what they want to invest in and aviation has unfortunately not really attracted the attention of successive governments. But it’s fair to say that over the last couple of years government has redirected a lot of the resources towards improving some of the facilities especially at the Kotoka international Airport.”
He also added that perhaps Ghana has not understood the benefits of the aviation industry to the economy explaining why at the domestic level infrastructure has not been developed to the level that would encourage significant growth in the industry. For him Ghana would rake in a lot of revenue if its aviation sector was vibrant.
He questioned why the Wa airstrip has not been developed which he said has been disincentive to investors.
He advised that Ghana take a critical look at the aviation industry for economic benefit. He added that if productivity was a priority for most Ghanaians they would travel by air to save time which brings productivity.