Passengers opt for KIA as service providers increase investment

Business News of Friday, 6 February 2015

Source: B&FT

KIA Airport

Latest figures obtained from airport authorities show a significant growth in transit passengers and cargo throughput for the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) for 2014, pointing to the growing importance of Ghana as an aviation hub in the sub-region.

Transit passengers increased from 162,000 in 2013 to 178,000 in 2014 representing an increase of some 9.5 percent. Cargo throughput also increased by 24.5 percent from 44,000 tonnes in 2013 to 54,000 tonnes in 2014.

The increase in transit passenger throughput has been attributed to the growing presence of regional and international airlines in Ghana and the choice of consumers to use the KIA for on-ward connections to mainly Europe, the Gulf, and Asia due to the good safety record of the country — bar the recent cargo aircraft accidents in recent times.

Growing transit passenger throughput is positive for revenue generation as airlines pay navigation charges and various taxes.

Air navigation charges for all international flights over four tonnes operating within the Accra Flight Information Region (FIR) comprising Ghana, Togo, Benin as at 2010 were charged US$0.75 per kilometre flown. The minimum charge within the Accra FIR is US$200 and the maximum US$600. Aircraft that weigh between 4-20 tonnes are charged a US$200 flat rate.

International passenger throughput to Accra however dipped by 2.9 percent from about 1.7million in 2013 to 1.650million.

Cargo operation to and out of Accra has been rising significantly over the past few years. The major items exported from Ghana include fresh fruit and vegetables to mainly Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa

Major cargo operators like Cargolux, represented in Ghana by Air Ghana, has for over a year been operating a Boeing 747-800 freighter — one of the most highly advanced and spacious cargo planes in the world — on the Accra route.

The aircraft has a 139 tonne cargo capacity and can carry 10 pallets more than existing aircraft. Cargolux specialises in the export of perishable agricultural produce to Europe, and delivers finished products and spare-parts for the mining and oil and gas sectors.

British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM and Emirates all operate large aircraft on the route that allow them to take on more cargo.

In view of the growing traffic, service providers are scaling-up investment in new products and services in order to meet the needs and demands of the travelling public and clients.

Aviance Ghana Ltd., a ground handling company, has acquired two more Cobus 2700s buses as part of its fleet renewal programme for passenger transportation at the Kotoka International Airport.

The tropically-designed vehicles worth US$500,000 per unit are expected to address the growing passenger throughput and future projected growth.

Mr. Paul Craig, the Managing Director of Aviance Ghana said: “We have acquired two new Cobus 2700s buses. This brings our total fleet size to nine.

The number of buses we have now is fine for the amount of work we have at this airport. As the airport grows, we will grow with it, and use the resources that we have to grow with it”.

Aviance Ghana was established in 1994, to provide a range of ground handling services to airlines at the KIA.

The services include management of an executive lounge for first and business class travellers, passenger check-in and baggage handling, loading and unloading of cargo from freight flights, and a cargo warehouse operation for all import and export needs.

For operators, the investment is welcome news for their passengers. Hendrik Du Preez, Emirates’ Regional Manager for West Africa said: “For our First Class and Business Class passengers, the new vehicles will enhance the passenger experience in general. In the long term, once the on-going construction at KIA is done the overall experience for our passengers will be enhanced”.

Kotoka International Airport is currently undergoing large-scale expansion and renovation to accommodate the growing traffic and improve the travelling experience for travellers.