US considers revoking ban on Ghanaian-registered carriers

Business News of Saturday, 20 June 2015

Source: B&FT

Mr Anthony Foxx USAMr Anthony Foxx

The US Department of Transportation has said it is working closely with government to rectify challenges in Ghana’s aviation sector that led to revoking of the country’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category-one status, which meant no Ghanaian-registered carrier could operate flights directly between Accra and the US.

Mr. Anthony Foxx, U.S Secretary of Transportation, said the remedial process is progressing steadily: “Progress is being made in helping Ghana regain its FAA category-one status. We will continue working with Ghana to get there. It is a safety process and not political. We will get there,” he said.

The country lost its prestigious FAA category-one status a couple of years ago and is now classified as a Category-two alongside the likes of Bangladesh and Indonesia.

The loss of the Category-one status has meant that no Ghanaian registered carrier can operate flights directly between Accra and the US — a route currently monopolised by Delta Airlines and characterised by high demand and relatively high fares.

It also means that the country’s civil aviation regime does not meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standard due to the lapses identified.

The Federal Aviation Administration assessed Ghana’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and concluded that it did not provide safety oversight of its air carrier operators in accordance with the minimum safety oversight standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The category-two rating, according to the FAA, is applied if one or more of the following deficiencies are identified: the country lacks laws or regulations necessary to support the certification and oversight of air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards; the CAA lacks the technical expertise, resources, and organisation to licence or oversee air carrier operations; and if the CAA does not have adequately trained and qualified technical personnel among others.

As part of efforts to strengthen the training of aviation professionals and technical aspects of the country’s aviation sector, a declaration of intent between the government of Ghana and the US government has been signed.

The two states are expected to firm-up the “intent” in coming months and collaborate in four major areas subject to funding and available resources.

The two parties are expected to continue offering mutually agreed training courses, workshops, and other technical assistance to be held at the Ghana Aviation Training Academy (GATA).

The US government is also to support GATA with technical assistance and capacity building toward its efforts to achieve Trainair Plus accreditation from the ICAO.

A Training Needs Assessment (TNA) is also to be performed collaboratively by the participants. The two parties will further explore bilateral frameworks for future cooperation to support the further development of GATA, based on the results of the Training Needs Assessment and GATA’s achievement of ICAO TrainairPlus Accreditation.

“This is not a matter of giving Ghana a fish but teaching Ghana how to fish, to create job opportunities for Ghanaians. Creating a stronger Africa is part of creating a stronger America. We have been working toward this for the past fifteen years,” Mr. Foxx said at the signing ceremony in Accra.

The Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor said: “The U.S. and Ghana have been collaborating over the years; we need collaboration to keep our airspace safe. We look forward to such training that will help keep our airspace safe”.