Single domestic carrier affecting international routes

Africa World Airlines (AWA) is said to be reeling under huge demand from passengers traveling to various parts of the country as the airline remains the only domestic operator in the country.

This follows the suspension of operations by Starbow after Flight S9 104 carrying 63 passengers and five crew bound for Kumasi reportedly skidded off the runway during its take off at 12:20 pm on Saturday November 25, 2017.

Addressing the second Aviation Stakeholders meeting in Accra on the theme, “Creation of an Aviation Hub: The Role of Airlines”, Minister for Aviation, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, pledged her ministry’s commitment to resolving the challenges which have impactd international services as well.

“We have a problem with domestic airline provision, as AWA is saddled with the responsibility of meeting overwhelming demand, which is affecting the bigger airlines moving people out because it is these smaller domestic airlines that bring passengers to Accra for them to carry.”

AWA, in the last four months, has been operating the domestic routes alone making it difficult to satisfy the flying needs of passengers who have found domestic air transport faster and more convenient for their schedules.

Concerns have therefore been raised about what the Ministry was doing to address the limited situation of domestic air operations with its attendant costs to the economy.

The Minister assured of helping the domestic carrier to resolve all the challenges as it works to open up the space for the entry of other domestic airlines.

“Very soon, we will have some positive news vis-à-vis passengers travelling to other parts of the country”, she assured.

Dapaah disclosed that the domestic airline operations will see more activity with the operationalisation of the Wa aerodrome and the Ho Airport, which is 97 percent complete.

Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) John Attafuah, addressing concerns that Kotoka International Airport (KIA) has the highest taxes in the sub-region assured the airline operators of a possible review of the situation.

He however asked for time explaining that those charges go to fund the terminal 3 project, which is solely funded by the GACL on its own balance sheet.

He announced that KIA has joined the Airport Service Quality assessment and implored travellers, who will be interviewed for the purpose of rating the service quality at KIA to bear with them.

Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Simon Allotey reported that, as part of the frequent upgrading programme of the Authority and HF and VSAT communication systems, as well as an upgraded Air Traffic Management System, have been installed at KIA.

He said the Ho and Wa airports will employ Performance Based Navigation procedures aside the installation of VORs to make it easier for domestic operators to fly to their destinations.

Kumasi and Tamale airports have also been given Instrument Landing Systems with new VHF radios and automatic weather observation systems, while the control towers have also been refurbished.

By Godfred Tawiah Gogo