Aviation: Single air transport market in Africa would boost connectivity – Bawumia
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has urged stakeholders in the aviation industry in Africa to coordinate and harmonise their policies and regulatory framework for a single air transport market to enhance connectivity and stimulate socio-economic development.
He said the progress of the aviation sector would never be sustained if stakeholders failed to work together to eliminate the unhealthy fragmentation, minimise excessive regulation and protectionism of country’s airlines.
“There is the need to strengthen coordination and harmonization in regional policies and therefore the regulation of access to air transport markets, as recommended in the Yamoussoukro Decision of November 14,1999 and echoed in Single Air Transport Markets of the 2017 Solemn Commitment,” he said.
He was of the conviction that the coming into force of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (ACTA) would create a large single market for Africa to trade in goods and service, which ultimately boost the development of the aviation industry.
Vice President Bawumia said this at the opening of a two-day Regional Aviation Conference organised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Accra.
The conference is being held on the theme: “Aviation: Business for Regional Prosperity”, which brought together policy-makers, aviation experts and chief executive officers of airlines in Sub-Saharan Africa and across the world, to deliberate and find strategic solutions to the aviation challenges and ensure the growth and development of the sector.
Vice President Bawumia expressed optimism that the platform would come out with well-thought out strategic solutions to improve and develop the aviation industry and assured of government’s commitment to continue playing active role in the aviation sector and champion the cause of civilian air transport.
“Let us collaborate to combat emerging security threats in the sub-region, our safety and security can be guaranteed adequately through information sharing and adhering to regulation standards in the industry. We must not fail the continent and the global community,” he added.
Air transport supports 6.2 million jobs and contributed $55.8 billion of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It contributed 4.6 per cent annual growth and would provide 334 million passengers by 2037.
Touching on a new local carrier for the country following the collapse of Ghana Airways, Dr Bawumia said government had started engagements with potential partners for a home-based airline, which formed part of efforts to ensure the country’s aviation industry grow to become the centre for regional and inter-continental flights in the West African sub-region.
He said government was creating a pool of aviation professionals to serve the sub-region and beyond, and would continue to build its capacity and enhance training to make the Ghana Civil Aviation Training Academy a centre of excellence, capable of developing the needed technical capacity on the Continent.
Vice President Bawumia said government had invested over seven million dollars towards the installation of three new navigational equipment to enhance the safety and security of the country’s airspace.
The equipment included; a Very Small Aperture Terminal System, Air Traffic Management System and Very High Frequency Radio Systems, are expected to facilitate the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority’s air navigation services to ensure safety to commensurate with the expansion in aviation infrastructure.
He assured of government’s commitment to integrate aviation infrastructure development plans with appropriately transport mode and link them with national and regional development strategies.
He urged aviation stakeholders to address the challenges facing the aviation sector, including high aviation taxes, fees, fuel cost and insurance as well as limited cooperation in flight scheduling, insufficient connectivity between capital cities and fragmentation of the airline market so that those hiccups does not impede the development of the airline industry.
He said the abolition of 17.5 per cent VAT on domestic air transport had aided significant improvement in commercial activities at the local front and enumerated various interventions being put in place to improve aviation infrastructure in the country.
Vice president Bawumia said government would soon commence construction works at the Kumasi Airport Phase Two and Three Project as part of strategies to transform it into an international airport.
Additionally, government would soon cut the sod for the construction of a new terminal for the Tamale Airport, adding that, there had been resurgence in domestic airline operators with the introduction of Passion Air and Unity Air, which is complementing the efforts of African World Airlines.