Aviation: Ghana opens Cargo Handling Hub

New Ghanaian Airline plans long Haul flights and a Hangar in Tamale

Ghana Airport Cargo Centre (GACC), a public private partnership (PPP)-funded facility at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport, saw its grand official opening ceremony attended by John Dramani Mahama, the country’s president.

The 10,000 sqm of dedicated cargo warehousing is already handling 50% of the local air cargo market, having contracts with carriers such as Cargolux, Brussels Airlines, DHL, Turkish Airlines and KLM.

Air Ghana, a privately owned cargo airline, offered debt financing in a PPP to build the complex which will promote Accra as a regional hub for Africa.

Air Ghana chief executive Marwan Traboulsi told the audience at the opening ceremony: “What we are witnessing today is not just a completion of an outstanding construction project but also the demonstration of how infrastructural development can be achieved through the delivery vehicle of public-private partnership.

“It is indeed heart-warming to see the completion of the first ever PPP project within the aviation industry in Ghana. We believe this project has laid down the foundations for others to emulate and partner the public sector in the provision of infrastructure and other facilities required for the socio-economic development of the country.”

Traboulsi continued: “The off-balance sheet financing provided by the PPP arrangement will make it possible for more projects to be delivered without further straining the public purse and resources whilst creating the environment for the private sector to expand and grow.”

Air Ghana and the Ghana Airport Co completed the construction project of the new terminal in just 19 months, allowing tenant Swissport Ghana Ltd to begin managing cargo handling operations in March of this year, using the cargo handling space which has been supplemented by 9,000 sq m of offices.

The facility has a fully automated storage and retrieval system accommodating 2,000 pallet positions, a mini-shipment tower for small packages, two cold stores, a temperature controlled area, a bullion store, an X-ray scanner and CCTV monitoring.

President Mahama said that the centre “was yet another testimony of the systematic growth of the aviation industry in Ghana”.

GACC has, he stated: “Cemented Ghana as the aviation hub of West Africa and that the operations of the facility would have a positive impact on the local economy.”

Christian Zweifel, Swissport Ghana’s chief executive, expressed his thanks to the Ghanaian government for bringing air cargo handling at Kotoka airport, 10 km from Accra city centre, to “the next level”.

Zweifel added: “We also would like to praise GACC, our partners in this venture, who have made all this possible, realising the potential and opportunity of the Accra Airport to become a regional hub and leader for the provision of aviation services in the sub-region.”

The Swissport executive also praised the “recent bold decision” by the Ghanaian government to embark on the Ghana National Single Window programme, which has led to “simpler and faster clearing times”.

Zweifel continued: “I would like to ensure you that our facilities will provide the needed infrastructural support to assist in making Ghana the destination port for trade business in our sub-region.

“We are confident that more airlines will opt for our quality infrastructure and services in the near future.”

The ultra-modern offices have air conditioning, panoramic lifts, energy saving LED lighting, on-site banking facilities, full high-speed fibre internet, solar water heaters and an in-house water filtration plant.

New Ghanaian Airline

Similarly, Goldstar Air, a wholly owned Ghanaian airline as part of efforts to indigenize its operations and rely on Ghanaians, is to employ retired Ghana Air Force pilots to man the company’s aircraft.

The retired pilots are to be type rated by BAA training headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, which is one of the leading aviation training centers in the European Union, which will be fully sponsored by the airline.

The pilots after completion of their type rating on B737 and B767 will return as first officers of the airline to assist the pilot in command (PIC) by acquiring some more hours in the process and later take over as pilots in command.

The focus of the company according to officials is to promote and protect the interest of Ghanaians.

In view of this, Goldstar Air is accepting applications from suitably qualified Ghanaian pilots and engineers for Boeing 737 and Boeing 767 operations.

Applicants according to authorities must be type rated on B737 or B767, other requirements for the pilot in command (captain) must have five thousand flight hours as commander and at least one thousand flight hours on B737 or B767. The pilot in command must also have a class three medicals.

Applicants applying for First Officer should also have Two Thousand five hundred flight hours and at least five hundred flight hours as a first officer on B737 or B767 and must also have a class three medicals.

Source: mobile.ghanaweb.com,  aircargonews.net

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