Three international airlines are currently undergoing the necessary certification processes to acquire licences to enable them fly into the country.
Gambian Bird, Royal Jordanian Airline, and Pison Airlines are undergoing the necessary designation processes in order to operate regional and international flights to Accra.
The country’s aviation industry, with an average growth of 10 percent, is one of the fastest growing and the most competitive in the West Africa sub-region — spurred on by a strong economic growth. The number of carriers has grown from 15 in 2000 to an estimated 40 carriers this year.
Projections by the Ghana Airport Company show that air passenger traffic is expected to hit six million by 2015. This represents an expected increase of more than 200 percent over the total passenger throughput of 1.8 million recorded in 2011.
“They [Gambian Bird] are going through the necessary designation processes, and as soon as that is over they will start flying into Accra. Royal Jordanian has also indicated that it wants to start flying into Accra, so we need to go through the designation process,” Air Commodore Victor Kwame Mamphey (Rtd.), Director-General, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), told the B&FT in an interview
The designation process requires applicants to apply through their respective governments to the Ghanaian government. The Ghana government will then forward the request to the Ministry of Transport for onward submission to the GCAA.
“Based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or a bilateral agreement, the countries can designate the airlines to fly in whatever direction. When it comes to the GCAA, what we do is visit the airlines and conduct an inspection on their facilities; the aircraft-type that is going to be used, their operational and maintenance base. Once we are satisfied, they are clear to go,” Air Commodore Mamphey (Rtd.) said.
Iberia Airlines last week commenced its direct flight from Accra to Madrid; it will start with two flights a week between the two cities.
Africa World Airline, a joint venture between the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Strategic African Securities and Hainan Airlines of China, is also set to commence full-scale regional operations on September 21, 2012.
With an initial complement of two aircraft, the airline is expected to fly to West African cities including Ouagadougou, Abidjan, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcout, Dakar and Banjul amongst others.
The four domestic carriers — Starbow, Fly 540, Citylink and Antrak — have also applied to the GCAA to operate regional flights to countries in the sub-region.
The latest development is seen as a vote of confidence for the country’s aviation industry, and an acknowledgement of the country as a crucial aviation hub within the sub-region
Ghana Air Traffic Projections
(Millions) – 2011 – 2015