02.08.2005 General News

African aviation industry must strategise - Expert

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Accra, Aug. 2, GNA - Stakeholders in the African Aviation Industry must strategise and form alliances with major operators in the world in order to withstand the competition brought about by these mega-carriers. Mr Christian E. Folly-Kossi, Secretary General of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), who made the call in Accra on Tuesday, said this would require the formation of hubs in various parts of the Continent and the co-operation between the major operators of such hubs. He said African states must speedily ratify International Civil Aviation Conventions, whose application would favourably impact on the operations of African airlines.

He said a glance at the world map showed that Africa had several natural gateways to the other Continents and these could serve as African hubs to fly to the rest of the world.

Mr Folly-Kossi was speaking on: "Globalisation and Subsequent Overwhelming Penetration of the African Aviation Market" at a public lecture organised by the League of Aviation Journalists, Ghana (LAVG) and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.

The lecture was to give an opportunity to share insights concerning the developments affecting the air transport industry in Africa. Mr Folly-Kossi said the airlines had to restructure themselves into competitive units as there were too many small airlines competing for such small-disjointed markets.

He said frequent changes of Chief Executives of African airlines were also killing the industry adding that African governments must provide the necessary environment to facilitate management stability. "Unfortunately, Ghana Airways and Nigeria Airways have beaten continental records in this regard. For instance in 47 years of existence, Ghana Airways has appointed 36 Chief Executive Officers with each one being in office for an average of 15 months."

Mr Folly-Kossi said African Airlines would not survive the current competition resulting from global liberalisation unless priority was given to African carriers to be strategic partners in the privatisation programmes.

Nii Adumansa-Baddoo, Acting Director General of the GCAA, said in an effort to accelerate the operationalisation of Government's liberalised sky policy, more open Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) had been concluded with Kenya, Morocco, The Netherlands, Surinam, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

He said under these agreements airlines registered in these countries might operate scheduled and charter flights or increase the frequencies of their existing flights to Ghana.

"As a result of the liberalised skies policy several of the foreign airlines operating to Ghana have increased the frequency of their flights while travel and tour companies operate several charter flights to Ghana."

Nii Adumansa-Baddoo said Ghana had ratified the Banjul Accord Agreement, which sought to operationalise the Yamoussoukro Decision of African States to liberalise the air transport industry.

He said the Kotoka International Airport had been rehabilitated to include the extension of the existing runway by a little over 400 meters and construction of a freight apron to accommodate three wide-bodied aircraft.

The other facilities are the refurbishment and expansion of the passenger terminal building with a separation of "Arrivals" and "Departures" to different ground levels as well as installation of modern communication, navigation and surveillance equipment. The Director-General said the League of Aviation Journalists in collaboration with the GCAA and the Ghana Institute of Journalism had instituted an elective course in Aviation and Diplomatic reporting with an Aeronautical Engineering Course at KNUST.

Ms Joyce R. Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines, said aviation was vital for the growth of every nation and the nation must see aviation as a key ingredient towards achieving Vision 2010.

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