Ghana’s aviation sector has attracted interest from the United States, with the Ag. U.S ambassador Chris Lamora indicating his country’s interest in helping Ghana to acquire aircraft for the upcoming national airline project. He has assured that he would present identified investment opportunities in Ghana’s aviation sector, including proposals for a national flag carrier to private investors in the U.S.
The Ambassador made this known when he paid a courtesy call on the Aviation Minister in Accra on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda had given the indication that Ghana wanted to tap into the resource pool of the US-EXIM Bank, in order to operationalize the country’s plans for a national carrier.
“We got a sense of U.S policy in terms of trade, to compete with the Chinese, what might happen in terms of U.S EXIM Bank, and the pool of funds that may be available,” said Adda, adding that, “we can use that to facilitate the leasing of aircraft to help us get our airline business operational.”
For the proposed home-based carrier, Adda said the ministry is engaging stakeholders to discuss a strategic partnership.
The Ambassador further indicated that there would be more collaboration in others areas of the sector, such as a pilot training programme among others.
Lamora said there will be further collaboration in terms of airport safety and security, since the ability of airlines to operate at a competitively high comfort level of passengers will influence the fulfillment of Ghana’s objective to become a regional hub.
The Minister stated that government will be focused on making the Ho Airport a pilot training center, which would help in addressing the current shortage of pilots in the country.
The Ho Airport project has a 1,900-metre runway, traffic control tower, 1,150 capacity passenger waiting area, an ultramodern air bus terminal and an automatic fire detection system. Government is now looking at ways to incentivize domestic carriers to start flying to and from the airport.
Tamale airport, on its own part, is expected to be used largely for cargo, as well as a hub for chartered flights. There is strong identified potential to use the airport for airfreighting perishable agricultural goods in particular.
Adda noted that the Ministry is currently working to remodel the Terminal 1 and 2 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in order to get them into a higher standard in the wake of the completion of the world class, new Terminal 3.
Government is also planning to develop other related facilities in the sector, including; the MRO (Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul) facility, Aviation Training Center for technicians and Pilot Training Academy.
These together with the Home-Based Carrier are expected to help government realize its objective of making Ghana an aviation hub for the West African sub region.
By Joshua W. Amlanu