The aviation sector is set to see a reduction of the turnaround time it takes potential investors to gain an Air Operation Certificate (AOC), and go through other regulatory processes the Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda has said.
The air operator’s certificate (AOC) is the approval granted by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to aircraft operators to allow them use aircraft for commercial purposes in the country. This requires the operator to have requisite personnel, assets and systems in place to ensure the safety of its passengers, cargo customers, employees and the general public.
In a ceremony to present an AOC to Unity Air, a new domestic carrier on Friday in Accra, the Minister said, “we are working with the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to make sure that they cut down on their turnaround time.”
“If it takes them [GCAA] one year to approve air operation certification, we want them to cut it down by perhaps 50 percent, within six months; if it takes them two weeks to do some inspections, we want them to cut it by one week; if it requires them some two days to do some work, we want them to do it in one day,” he stated.
The Minister indicates that a request has been made to GCAA on the checklist of all the five levels that potential investors are required to go through to secure certification to begin airline operations.
He added that the ministry will undertake a working session with GCAA to assess the operational procedures to ensure that “whatever we agree on will be something you will live by.”
“This means that no individual will frustrate any entrepreneur who wants to go into the airline business. Nobody will demand things that are not required. But we will not compromise quality and security in these efforts,” Adda noted.
The country has yet again seen introduction of another domestic carrier after its being granted an AOC to commence operations within the domestic market by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
This bring the number of domestic carriers to three, with couple more at various level of certification.
Unity Air received its Air Operator Certificate after having gone through the mandatory five phases of air operator certification by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
The Minister said the emergence of Unity Air in the industry will not only add to the jobs being created within the industry both direct and indirect, but support the opening up of other parts of the country to economic activities which includes tourism.
This is expected to give passengers adequate choice and also allow for the market to determine the price of airfares by driving monopoly off the market.
Unity Air is expected to have its flights originating from Kumasi, and subsequently will fly to Ho and Wa airports in the very near future.
For its initial operations, Unity Air will be operating short haul hop flights covering the Accra-Kumasi-Tamale-Accra route with a 30-seater Embraer 120 extended version with a range of 1,750km daily. It has indicated that its subsequent operations will cover Accra-Kumasi-Accra, Kumasi-Ho-Kumasi.
The total domestic passenger market was 0.5 million in the year 2017. It is projected that the market will continue to see growth due to the emergence of new domestic airlines. The ministry forecasts that the market will grow by 48 percent between now and 2023.
By Joshua W. Amlanu