The Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) is bleeding due to the decision of one of its main clients, Emirates Airlines, to suspend flights between Accra and Dubai for health reasons.
AviationGhana analysis of the taxes and airport charges at Ghana’s only international airport, Kotoka International Airport, reveals that GACL, which is the airports operator, has lost an estimated GHC 1.4million within a week of Emirates suspending direct flights between the two cities.
The state-owned company, which was one of the few profitable public entities that could secure loans on the back of its own balance sheet few years ago, was beginning to recover from the impact of the current pandemic until Omicron variant forced the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other governments to re-impose travel restrictions.
For an airline which operates a Boeing 777 to the KIA, with about 300 seats and a load factor of about 85 percent during the yuletide, the total runway, parking, security, and government charges per flight amount to about GHC 196,000.
Between December 28, 2021, when Emirates announced the indefinite suspension of flight to Accra and Jan 5, 2022, GHC 1.4million in potential aeronautical revenue has been lost by GACL.
The losses exclude potential earnings from other airlines, which prior to the UAE flight ban for Ghanaian travellers, transported passengers via their hubs to the Gulf country. RwandAir, Kenya Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines have also been affected.
Thousands of cedis in potential income has also been lost by travel and tour companies who have had to cancel many planned group tours during the yuletide.
Dubai remains one of the most sought after leisure and shopping destination for Ghanaian travelers, due to its world-class amenities, ease of visa acquisition, and flight availability.
Emirates Airlines extended the initial 48-hours ban for flights from Accra to Dubai indefinitely on December 28, 2021.
“Emirates flight suspension from Accra to Dubai effective December 27, 2021 is now extended until further notice,” the airline said in its urgent broadcast sent to trade partners on Tuesday December 28, 2021.
The airline, however, said Dubai to Accra flights will, however, continue for passengers holding confirmed bookings and meeting the entry requirements for Accra. The carriage of passengers to and from Abidjan has also been suspended.
The suspension of flights, AviationGhana sources say, is linked to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases recorded on outbound flights arriving in Dubai from Accra and Abidjan.
On Monday, December 27, 2021, Ghana officially entered its fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a record number of positive cases, 2,521 recorded. The country’s 7-day average new cases now stand at 997, after the yuletide.