Ghana New Minister wants a fast tracked National Carrier in 12 months
Minister-designate for Aviation has promised to see to an airline flying the Ghanaian flag in the next one year should her nomination be approved.
Cecelia Dapaah said the time is ripe for Ghana to have a national carrier and she cited a feasibility study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers under the immediate past government which revealed that the prospects of establishing a new carrier are promising.
Taking her turn at vetting by Parliament’s Appointments Committee Wednesday, the former Member of Parliament for Bantama said with other countries making it big in the sector, there is no way Ghana would fail if the right measures are put in place.
She said she has already engaged several agencies connected to aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Ghana Airport Company as well as other stakeholders and she is convinced the feasibility studies by PricewaterhouseCoopers points to something positive.
The defunct Ghana International Airlines (GIA) took over from Ghana Airways Limited as a national airline in 2004 as a partnership between the government of Ghana and a group of private international investors. It ceased operations in 2010.
The government owned 70 percent of shares while the international consortium owned 30 percent in the GIA which had one plane and partnered with a number of international airlines to boost its operations.
There were a myriad of issues with this partnership forcing the airline to go insolvent in 2010. There is a pending legal battle still ongoing which prevented Madam Dapaah from commenting when asked about the fiasco.
Ghana Airways Limited had a cooperation agreement with South African Airways in 1999 but was run down by debts and legal disputes since its founding in 1958.
However, Madam Dapaah said, “we would study the findings and add up what we have received so far and taking it up from there.” She added that her numerous engagements have revealed that Ghana is ripe to have its own carrier.”
“At least to start with the ECOWAS regions, sub-regions, move it to regional and then take it up from there,” she said.
According to her, the Ministry is looking forward to taking advantage of the national airline to boost tourism considering that the number of visitors to Ghana is continually increasing adding it would also facilitate the travels of Ghanaians.
She is convinced with 18,000 passengers flying into Ghana annually via British Airways, some 1.2 million people traveling by air in Africa and seven billion worldwide, Ghana cannot go wrong with getting its own airline.
“There is no doubt that we can create a niche for Ghana [in the aviation industry]…and I would fight with all the fire and passion in me that we get a national carrier.
Speaking about timelines, Madam Dapaah said although the consultant on the project had said the first flight could take off in two years she has insisted that the process is fast-tracked so the national airline flies in a year.
With a government which employment as one of its main campaign promise, she is looking forward to seeing young Ghanaians lined up to take jobs as flight attendants on the new national airline.
“They are the reason for the carrier. I can’t wait to see that day when they would line up in the carriers,” she said.