The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), has said a new national airline, which is expected to begin operations by 2019, will not tolerate a free ticket regime.
GCAA maintained, that the collapse of the hitherto vibrant Ghana Airways, was plagued with various administrative and operational challenges among which included the infamous free ticket system exploited by government officials and politicians.
“As we know, a new national airline will soon hit the skies. But as a reminder, the era of free tickets are far behind us. There is a resolve to quit that practice as it was a contributory factor that led to the demise of Ghana Airways and its successor, the Ghana International Airlines,” Director-General of GCAA, Mr. Simon Allotey told the Goldstreet Business.
He said that policy, when strictly adhered to, will only be in the interest of Ghana as a country.
The issue of government appointees exploiting and clamouring for free travel tickets on the then national airline, has been treated as an allegation for several years after the demise of the former national carrier.
The revelation by the GCAA has therefore confirmed that it was not a mere allegation as was perceived.
With a recent policy approval by Parliament, for the setting up of a new national carrier by the Aviation Ministry and its stakeholders, GCAA and Ghana Airports Company, reports from the Ministry indicated that Ethiopian Airlines, Air Mauritius, African World Airlines and a host of others are currently engaged with government for the establishment of the national airline.
However, Mr. Allotey explained that the selection has been going through rigorous routines.
“That’s because, the best must be selected as a partner for the venture, which we are yet to ascertain whether to do on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis,” he said.
Since the announcement last year, various aircraft manufacturers and prominent airlines have all expressed interest in partnering the country in this endeavour.
With an estimated 385 million people in West Africa as of 2017, there is enormous potential for the aviation sector which Ghana can harness.
The latest Airbus Global Market Forecast 2017-2036, titled ‘Growing Horizons’, shows that over half of global tourists travel across international borders each year on air transport.
Ghana’s aviation sector has been growing by about 8 percent annually over the past decade. Last year, total international passenger throughput (arrivals/departures) hit 1.8 million.
Accra plays a host to large number of international carriers from Europe, North America and Asia.
Prominent international and regional airlines operating flights to and from Accra, include, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Brussels, British Airways, TAP Portugal, Emirates, Delta, Ethiopian, South African Airways, Air Namibia, Rwandair, African World Airlines and several others.
In 2016, global passenger traffic grew impressively with 6.3 percent year over year growth, with an increase in the passenger fleet of an aircraft of above 100 seats to over 19,000 airliners, supporting record levels of deliveries from manufacturers.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe