Ghana’s Budding Aviation Sector - Infrastructure is critical to the development of the aviation sector.

Infrastructure is critical to the development of the aviation sector. Over the years, the government has done some work in assessing the current state of our airports and some improvements have been made at the Kotoka International Airport, Kumasi Airport and the Tamale Airport.

It sought to improve aeronautical facilities like the terminals, taxiways, runways, parking bays and navigational or the guidance systems to improve safety, increase capacity and ensure efficiency in service delivery and on-time performance for airlines that operate out of these airports.

The Kotoka International Airport (KIA) has seen development with the establishment of the new Terminal 3, which aims to ease congestion and expected to help facilitate tourism growth in Ghana. The project began in March 2016, extends over five floors totalling 45,000 sq. meters. The project expands the airport’s total passenger-handling capacity by 5metres and will significantly ease peak-hour congestion at the existing international Terminal 2.

The $274m project being built by Turkish-based MAPA Construction and Trade Company is near completion and has been partly funded by a $ 120m loan facility from the Africa Development Bank. This project serves as a boost for the local economy, generating an estimated 900 temporary jobs during the two-year construction phase, with plans to sustain a further 760 permanent jobs into the future.  The terminal expansion is vital to infrastructure investment at KIA where the private sector will help fulfil the country’s quest to raise Ghana’s profile as a regional hub.

In 2016, KIA opened the 17,000 square meters Ghana Airport Cargo Centre, increasing its cargo handling from 50,000 tons per year to more than 70,000 tons. This facility, Ghana’s first public-private partnership in the aviation industry was developed by a joint venture between Air Ghana and the Ghana Airports Company Limited and is operated by Swiss Port Ghana.

Kumasi is also looking to strengthen its aviation infrastructure with the Ghana Airports Company Limited earlier this year requesting for expression of interest for design review and construction supervision for the Kumasi Airport. The work is part of the second phase of expansion at the site and includes a terminal building and runway extension. The improvements will help attract new international connections through the Ashanti Region.

The infrastructure improvements completed earlier in Kotoka, Kumasi and Tamale Airports are key measures implemented to make travel cheaper for passengers and increase the country’s attractiveness to foreign airlines operating in the region.

In 2016, the government removed a 17.5% value-added tax on domestic air travel. This resulted in a significant increase in domestic passenger air travel growing from 163,322 to 201,851 in May 2017 representing an increment of 24%.

Tourism is expected to be a key beneficiary of airport expansions in Ghana. According to the World Tourism and Tourism Council (WTTC), Ghana’s tourism sector’s total contribution to GDP is expected to increase by 4.2% on average per year to GHC19.9bn by 2028. In 2017, the sector contributed 6.2%. The domestic tourism spending accounts for 60.4% of the sector’s contribution to GDP. The Ghana Tourism Authority has also set a target of attracting 1.5m international tourists to the country this year, up from the estimated 1.2m in 2017.

To reach this goal, additional measures are also being taken to improve connectivity. The government expects to receive the first tranche of a $50m grant from the World Bank in June, to be used to improve road infrastructure and sanitary services in key tourist hotspots. Meanwhile, the Ghana Civil Aviation has outlined plans to construct new airstrips in popular visitor areas to improve connectivity, highlighting Axim, Bolgatanga and Cape Coast as potential locations.

Ghana’s Aviation industry has high rating within the West African sub-region, with the attraction of routes such as the Air France which joined other international carriers, including Delta Airlines, Turkish Airlines, South Airways, British Airways, Emirates Airlines, Middle East Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch, Air Ivoire and America Airlines in 2017.

The Aviation sector continues to present numerous opportunities for the business community to consider, including the proposed launch of a domestic and international airline by 2019.

Source :G.I.P.C. Corporate Affairs 

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