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28.07.2003 General News

Gov't to equip rescue and fire fighting services at KIA

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Accra, July 28, GNA - The government is to equip the Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (RFFS) at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to enable the airport to accept all aircrafts including the new airbus A380 airliner.

The upgrading would also be extended to regional airports as well as improve the emergency management systems of the entire airports in Ghana.

Dr Richard Anane, Minister of Roads and Transport, announced this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Workshop on Rescue and Fire Fighting in Accra on Monday.

The five-day conference is organised by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and is being attended by about 40 participants from the Western and Central African offices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation including the manufacturers of fire fighting equipment and stakeholders in the aviation industry.

Dr Anane said the government had approved the procurement of aircraft recovery equipment capable of lifting a disabled Boeing 747 aircraft.

"This is to enhance the capacity of Ghana to deal with aviation incidents so as to upgrade RFFS at the Kotoka International Airport from category 9 to 10.

Dr Anane said government had plans to construct a modern fire station at the KIA, procure a mobile command post and the rapid intervention vehicle to enable the airport to respond to any fire eventuality.

Captain Joe Boachie, Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, said the importance of RFFS at the airport was of the extreme importance, noting that most aircraft accidents occurred close to the runways.

"Although air travel is the safest mode of transportation, statistics have shown that 74 per cent of all reported aircraft accidents in 1993 and 1995 occurred on airfield premises.

"There is the need to cover the airport with specially equipped fire gadgets and well trained staff."

He said to achieve high standard in RFFS capacity the GCAA had invested heavily in providing training facilities for its fire-fighting outfit.

Mr Amadou Cheiffou, Regional Director of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, lauded government's commitment to collaborate with the international aviation community to build a safe and efficient airport system.

He said the workshop would lead to increase awareness of the importance of RFFS, foster discussions and exchange of views on various aspects of aviation.

Mr Cheiffou noted that member-states were increasingly devoting attention to adequate provision of fire fighting services. He, however, noted that there was lack of RFFS at the airport of member-states, saying, this is unacceptable in view of the fact that "irrespective of the size of the airport, the objective should be the same that is quick response, saving of human lives and the control of fire."

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