The Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Abena Dapaah, says Ghana is not ready to fail for the third time in its bid to own a national airline. “Ghanaians are yearning for a national carrier in the shortest possible time.
We are in a hurry to establish a national airline but we are making sure we have a realistic and workable programme to ensure we deliver, “she said.
Speaking to a delegation from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council, led by its president, Dr Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu, that called on her in Accra yesterday, the minister said: “We failed the first time and again in 2007. We do not want to fail for the third time. That is why we want to get it right.”
The visit of the delegation was to brief the minister on a three-day ICAO second meeting on the sustainable development of air transport in Africa, which is being hosted by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
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ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations which codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth of the aviation industry.
Ms Dapaah said the ministry was currently putting in place the necessary steps to ensure that the nation got a modest national carrier that would operate in the West African region.
Additionally, she said, the ministry was working with the GCAA to ensure safe air space.
On behalf of the government, Ms Dapaah congratulated Dr Aliu on being the first African to be appointed as the President of ICAO in the 70 years’ existence of the organisation.
She pledged Ghana's support and goodwill to ensure that he succeeded as the ICAO president.
Dr Aliu commended the government for creating a separate ministry for the aviation industry.
He said it was an important move as the aviation industry played a pivotal role in economic development.
He said ICAO was focused on increasing air travel in the next 15 years from the current 30 million flights to 60 million flights daily and from three billion passengers to between 6.4 and 6.7 billion daily across the world.
Achieving the projection, he observed, would require increased infrastructure development, building of human capacity and adopting technology to support the growing industry.
He therefore lauded the efforts of the government of Ghana for the level of infrastructure development in the aviation industry.
Dr Aliu said in the last audit of Ghana's aviation industry in 2006 by ICAO, the country was rated 64 per cent above the target while in terms of security of the industry, Ghana scored 80 per cent.
He expressed the hope that Ghana would improve its rating in the next audit which would be conducted soon.
"My expectation is that Ghana ranks 90 per cent because that is where Ghana belongs and there is more room for improvement in terms of Ghana's security rating. Nigeria is rated 96 per cent, so it is possible to improve," he said.
He said with the level of development in Ghana's aviation industry, it could become a regional leader in West Africa and pledged ICAOs readiness to put its resources at the disposal of Ghana to make it achieve that status.
“There is nothing good like telling a good story, and Ghana is a good story,” he added.
The Secretary General of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Ms Iyabo O. Sosina, who was part of the ICAO delegation, urged the ministry to encourage young professionals in the aviation industry to take advantage of international opportunities to develop their capacities.