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Resist temptation of increasing charges without ICAO principles – IATA to Ghana

File photo of Ghana's Kotoka International Airport - Terminal 3

Wed, 1 Feb 2023 Source: GNA

Kamil H. Al-Awadhi, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA), Regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East, has called on Ghana to follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) process of increasing airport charges.

“Ghana must resist the temptation of increasing charges without following the ICAO principles; such increases can lead to the erosion of Ghana’s competitiveness as a destination,” he added.

Mr Al-Awadhi was speaking through a recorded video at the 4th AviationGhana Stakeholders Breakfast Meeting in Accra on the theme: “Post-COVID-19 recovery process and the journey ahead.”

The meeting will deliberate on the post-COVID-19 recovery process and the outlook for the industry in 2023.

The Breakfast Meeting, organised by AviationGhana.Com, is an annual event that brings together all major stakeholders in the aviation sector and policymakers to deliberate on a chosen theme relevant to the dictates of the prevailing aviation operating environment.

He said adherence to ICAO’s policies on charges and infrastructure through consultations with airlines and industry players was prior to ensuring fairness.

He said the recent increase in charge by Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the introduction of new charges by Ghana Airport company was an example in question.

He commended the Government and the Bank of Ghana on an exemplary way of managing the repatriation of airline funds despite the economic challenges Ghana was going through now.

Mr Al-Awadhi said resilience had been the hallmark of airlines in the Covid 19 crisis, and it was a mantra to repeat as “we move away from a crisis that shocked and disrupted our lives.”

He said last year, airlines worldwide lost a combined 6.9 billion dollars down from 9.7 billion dollars previously forecasted.

He said the fact that airlines were able to cut their losses in 2022 in era of rising cost, labour shortages, strikes, operational disruptions and many mishaps plus growing economic uncertainties speaks volumes about people desire and need for connectivity.

According to him, in 2023, it was expected the industry would accrued 4.7billion-dollar profit, the first industry profit since 2019 which was a great achievement, considering the scale of the financial and economic dimension caused by government imposed pandemic restrictions.

He said it also illustrated that there was much more ground to cover to put the global industry on a solid financial footing.

Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Minister of Transport, said it was common knowledge that the global economy heavily depended on the air transport industry.

He said aviation connected people, cultures, and businesses and indeed, the importance of the industry could not be over-stated.

However, the industry evolves around many different agencies, including Competitiveness while it is tempting for some actors in the value chain to try and make up for lost revenues during the Covid-19 pandemic, now is not the right time to raise charges.

The Minister said every increase deterred travellers and accrued less revenue not just for the airline but also for stakeholders across the aviation value chain, including manufacturers, maintenance, ground support.

He said customer service delivery was very important in the airline industry.

“I will entreat all the airlines to provide safe, reliable and comfortable flights to their passengers. Always remember that the passenger comes first.” the Minister said.

He said the Government would continue to create the enabling environment to encourage and expand domestic airline operations across the country.

Madam Pamela Djamson-Tettey, Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), said the Company had extended support to the airlines in the recovery process.

She said the Company had not reviewed its rental charges for the past two years even though, these rents were due, all as a measure to support the airlines.

She encouraged domestic airlines to increase their frequency and establish more intercity travel.

Source: GNA
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