Accra, May 11, GNA - The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said on Wednesday that it was addressing its safety deficiencies, which had led to the lowering of its safety ratings by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).
The Acting Director-General of GCAA, Nii Adumansu Baddoo told Ghana News Agency in Accra that the Authority had begun training programmes to upgrade its technical experts to handle record keeping and facilitate the operation a new enacted by Parliament to meet the demands of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The FAA on Tuesday announced that Ghana did not comply with international safety standards set by ICAO, following a reassessment of the GCAA.
As a result of Ghana's failure to comply with ICAO standards, its safety rating was lowered from the highest score of Category 1 to the lowest rating of Category 2, a statement from the FAA sent to the GNA on Tuesday said.
A Category 2 rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority - equivalent to the FAA - is deficient in one or more areas such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures.
Nii Baddoo noted that one primary condition for awarding a country Category 1 status was for the country's national carrier to conform to ICAO's safety standards and be allowed to fly directly to agreed destinations in the USA.
According to him in the case of Ghana, FAA carried out periodic assessment on GCAA but there was no national airline now.
"This was a major setback in Ghana's situation at the time of the safety audit inspection of the GCAA, as we simply do not have a national carrier."
Nii Baddoo said the FAA had agreed to assist GCAA in the development and implementation of its international aviation safety checklist as basis to ensure that GCAA met its international obligations.
Meanwhile the FAA has commended GCAA for the considerable work it initiated in trying to address its safety oversight deficiencies and has assured GCAA that it would consider Ghana's rating once again when the deficiencies have been corrected.
The FAA statement said it would remain engaged with the GCAA and periodically review the situation with the intention of encouraging improvements that would qualify Ghana for a Category 1 rating. The assessment is part of the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme under which the Agency assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate to the United States and make that information available to the public.
"The assessments are not an indication of whether individual foreign carriers are safe or unsafe. Rather, they determine whether or not foreign Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations."
Countries with air carriers that fly to the United States must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations' Technical Agency for Aviation that establishes international standards and recommends practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.
The FAA, with the cooperation of the host civil aviation authority, assesses countries with airlines that have operating rights to or from the United States or have requested such rights.
Specifically, the FAA determines whether a foreign civil aviation authority has adequate infrastructure for international aviation safety oversight as defined by ICAO standards.
The basic elements that the FAA considers necessary include laws enabling the appropriate government office to adopt regulations necessary to meet the minimum requirements of ICAO and current regulations that meet those requirements.
The others are procedures to carry out the regulatory requirements, air carrier certification, routine inspection and surveillance programmes, and organizational and personnel resources to implement and enforce the above.
The FAA has established two ratings for the status of these civil aviation authorities at the time of the assessment - does it comply with ICAO standards? Does it not comply with ICAO standards?