Business News of Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Airline Operators in Ghana’s aviation sector have raised concerns over challenges that require urgent attention in order to foster growth in the sector.
They raised the concerns at a maiden Breakfast Meeting organised by Aviation Ghana, an online aviation news portal, to provide a platform for stakeholders in the sector to engage with the Ministry of Aviation on issues of key concern to the growth of the sector.
Speaking to the GNA prior to the closed session, Mr James Eric Antwi, the Chief Executive Officer of Starbow Airlines, said some of the main concerns that he would raise as a domestic airline operator was the lack of appropriate aviation infrastructure at the various domestic airports.
He noted that the domestic airlines faced challenges in their operations during harmattan seasons as visibility became poor and they found it hard to operate their regular schedules to destinations like Kumasi and Tamale due to lack of modern navigation systems.
“We keep on disappointing our customers. We need to have proper navigational systems, modern ones at those airports so that we can run our schedules during the harmattan because when customers lose confidence in our services, they don’t come back again,” he said.
He also raised concerns with fifth freedom rights given by Ghana to other countries in the sub-region based on the Yamoussoukro Decision.
He said those countries were not committed to giving the same rights to Ghanaian airlines, putting impediment in the way of those who try, and urged the Ministry to address the issue.
He also bemoaned the unfair competition posed by international airlines who also operate regional routes saying it was important for authorities to limit such operations to enable domestic airlines remain competitive.
Mr Hendrik Du Preez, Emirates Airlines Country Manager for Ghana, said while Ghana’s quest to make Ghana the preferred aviation hub in the sub-region was commendable, it was important to ensure that international airlines played their part to support the vision.
He observed that although Emirates operates flights from Abidjan to Accra, it was mainly to feed their international flights and was not a major route.
“As competition increases, there’s a lot of factor we’ll need to look at. Pricing will go down, which will make it more accessible for people to travel and this is the ultimate goal; get more people to travel to fill up the capacity of international airlines and get more people to come through here,” he stated.