Ghana’s aviation sector shows strong growth

Joseph Kofi Adda, Aviation Minster

Growth in the aviation sector, in terms of both domestic and international operations, has witnessed significant upwards movement since the beginning of this year, in response to government’s efforts to make the country an aviation hub in the sub-region.

Analysis of the data from the Ghana Airport Company limited, on the performance of the sector in the first quarter of 2019, reveals accelerating growth after a slowdown in performance last year

During the first quarter of 2019, the total domestic passenger throughput and aircraft movement increased by 66,594 passengers and 1,840 flights, representing 76.5 percent and 90 percent, respectively, compared to the performance during the same period in 2018.

Likewise, the international air traffic statistics showed a 6.3 percent increase in Passenger Throughput, and one percent, 7.5 percent and 0.5 percent increases in Freight Movement, Aircraft Movement, and Transit, respectively.

International passenger throughput increased by 29,566 passengers, whereas Freight Movement, Aircraft Movement, and Transit traffic increased by about 119 metric tonnes, 519 flights and 249 passengers respectively.

Since 2016, the sector has showed strong growth in both international and domestic activity. For instance, the international passenger movement increased by five percent in 2016, this growth rate increasing to nine 9 percent in 2018, and the growth rate for freight movement likewise improved from a contraction in 2016 of seven percent to four percent growth in 2018.

However, in 2018, in the domestic aviation category, there were declines of 19 and 13 percent respectively for aircraft movement and passenger throughput.

According to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA), global passenger traffic results for March 2019, demand – measured in revenue passenger kilometers – rose 3.1 percent, compared to the same month a year ago, which was the slowest pace of growth for any month in nine years.

African airlines’ demand increased by 2.1 percent compared to March 2018, down from a 2.5 percent rise in February. Capacity climbed 1.1 percent, and load factor strengthened by 0.7 percentage point to 71.4 percent. The upward traffic trend has softened since mid-2018 in line with falling business confidence in some of the region’s key economies.

Current developments, consisting of programmes and projects, in Ghana’s aviation sector has set it on the path of becoming the hub for aviation in the West African sub-region as envisaged by government.

To fulfill this vision, government has so far signed more than 65 Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), with countries across the world. This offers a better opportunity for Ghana which is aiming to become a point of attraction when it comes aviation business.

The signing and re-negotiation of BASA with contracting states will improve air services connectivity, enhance Intra-Africa and international trade, and also reduce airfares among others. This should position Ghana as the preferred hub for aviation in the sub-region as well as maximizing the huge investment in on-ground aviation infrastructure.