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08.12.2006 General News

Ghana intensifies aviation security measures

By GNA
Ghana intensifies aviation security measures
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As a result of the events of September 11 2002 in the United States, Ghana has instituted and continues to intensify measures aimed at preventing acts of unlawful interference in air transport.

Ghana has also stepped up the level of security at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) by implementing internationally recommended measures, Ms Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Aviation, said at a flag-raising ceremony in commemoration of the International Civil Aviation Day in Accra being celebrated under the theme, "Safety and Security-First and Always the Top Priority."

She said safety and security had always remained a matter of high consideration to governments.

"Consequently, as a contracting State of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Ghana has over the years been a partner in the various measures instituted by the Organization to enhance safety and security in the industry."

She noted that the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) had over the years recorded a high reputation in performing its safety oversight role, saying this was "an achievement that accounts for the mere absence of any major accidents in the Ghana Flight Information Region".

She said while achievements had been made in enforcing security such as the provision of Closed Circuit Television, baggage screening equipment and a review of the use of the VVIP and VIP facilities at the KIA, the same could not be said in the trafficking of narcotics at the Airport.
Ms Akuffo said it was of utmost importance that efforts be made to erase Ghana's recent image as a drug transit centre, adding that security had to be tightened to that effect.

She said the Government had stepped up the fight against narcotic drug trafficking at all ports including the KIA.

"It is in this regard that we welcome Operation Westbridge of the United Kingdom, which is currently implementing measures to stamp out the menace."

Nii Adumansa-Baddoo, Acting Director-General of the GCAA, said the ICAO business plan for 2005 to 2007 identified Safety and Security as key strategic objectives that must be given top priority by all contracting States.

The two initiatives are the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme and the Universal Aviation Security Audit Programme, which seek to ensure compliance with ICAO rules on the prevention of unlawful acts against international civil aviation.

Nii Adumansa-Baddoo said Ghana had already been subjected to this audit, which had recognized the country's efforts to separate the Regulatory Authority from the authority responsible for implementation of airport level security controls as provided in the new Ghana Civil Aviation Act, 2004 (Act 678).

He said a corrective action plan had been put in place to address all the findings arising from the audit.

The flag-raising ceremony was one of the many activities marking the 2006 International Civil Aviation Day celebrated annually on December 7 to mark the creation of the ICAO in 1944.

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