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17.05.2004 Business & Finance

Review Airport Tax

By Accra Mail

The Director of Airport Management at Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Mr. Chris Quaye has said airport taxes on airlines among other services must be reviewed in order to make Ghana the hub of the sub-region.

Speaking at a lecture at the weekend to commemorate Aeronautic Information Service (AIS) Day, he said "high and unaffordable fares have been and continue to be the major factor militating against our drive towards making KIA a hub. Air Burkina and Air Togo stopped operations to KIA partly because of airfares."

Speaking on the topic, "Making KIA the Transport Hub in the Sub-region: The Challenges," Mr. Quaye said the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) should consider "liberalising the airline designations," as well as to develop routes within the sub region to support the dream hub.

He said although the national carrier, Ghana Airways, is not in a stable position to develop some existing lucrative routes, other airlines could be used for Ghanair to reap the benefits later. "The longer we wait, the more it affects trade and commerce from Ghana and travellers continue to pay more. Let us use others to develop the routes and when the national airline is ready, it can come and milk the benefits."

He said this idea is achievable because Emirates Airlines are currently enjoying from a route which was initially created by Ethiopian Airlines. He said in spite of our ailing airline, Ghana "needs to develop attractive routes for the businessman/trader transacting business between Ghana and Nigeria and we cannot wait for the national airline to wake up from its slumber before we do that."

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr. Adjei-Boye called on the security department of the GCAA to be extra vigilant in their work owing to the heightened security threats on the global scene.

All these concerns are being expressed at a time when the national airline is about to receive its life-saving infusion from the US.

Since it became public a few weeks ago that a US consortium had won the bid to takeover the bankrupt Ghana Airways, preparations have been moving at a furious pace to complete an MOU to get the airline going as soon as possible.

ADM has information from aviation industry sources that, one of the most respected airline executives in the US would be relocating to Accra this year to take charge of what industry insiders have described as the most far-reaching restructuring exercise in Africa's aviation history.

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