The aviation industry in Ghana is one of the worst affected, right from the time when the country began imposing travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cobweb that gathered across the aviation infrastructure when air travel came to an almost standstill mode is far too widespread. The deepest cut has been borne by those employed in the servicing of the aircrafts, managing the airports, air traffic control operators, ground handlers, airport security and immigration and customs. The aviation industry has always been the backbone of trade & commerce and the tourism industry. As it mobilizes both – passenger and freight traffic, it shifts the joystick of the country’s domestic and foreign trade to forward the country’s economy.
Ghana’s aviation sector has been in the upswing mode and ambitious plans are on the anvil to develop the country’s airports. The Kotoka International airport in Accra ranked No. 1 in 2019 for airports receiving between 2 million and 5 million passengers by the Airports Council International winning the Airport Service Quality Award. Kumasi, Tamale and Sunyani airports too will benefit from major improvements to infrastructure. Airports are a crucial link to the National Tourism Development Plan which aims to achieve 8 billion tourists per year by 2027. In 2018, the finance ministry of Ghana had reported that the Ghana Airport Company collected revenue to the tune of 475.56 million Ghanaian cedi. As per available data, air transport supports 6.2 million jobs and attracts revenue worth $55.8 billion to Africa’s economy.
However the aviation sector, overcast with the dark clouds of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an air of pessimism among its operators. There will be tough restrictions in future. For instance, only passengers who have taken the required number of COVID-19 vaccine shots may be permitted to travel by air. Spiraling oil prices is yet another matter of concern. Time will take its own course and there appears to be no immediate possibility for normalcy to rebound at the desired pace. Even as businesses take off, the turbulence of the COVID weather may not let the aviation sector unfasten its seat belt for quite some time.