Participants at a symposium organised by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have called on government to allow the Authority to retain a larger portion of the Airport Passenger Service Charge to be used to improve infrastructure at the airports.
They said the 60 per cent of amount, which went to government chest was unacceptable and did not help the efforts by the GCAA to provide adequate infrastructure for passengers.
Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey, Director-General of the GCAA and Chairman for the occasion, organised as part of the GCAA’s 25th anniversary celebrations, said money received from the charge should be ploughed back into the aviation industry, adding that civil aviation was an expensive venture with multiple stages of development, control and monitoring.
He also called for more education in order to sensitise the public about the safety and reliability of air travel especially domestic air travel.
Commodore Mamphey explained that the low numbers of Ghanaians (0.66 per cent) who use domestic air transport was due to fear of flying and the relatively high costs of this means of transport.
“Compared to the thousands of road traffic accidents that have occurred in past 10 years, there has not been any accidents involving aircrafts within the same period making air transport relatively safer, “ he said.
He also suggested that the prices of fuel for aircrafts be made affordable so that domestic air fares would also be made cheap to encourage passengers to use it.
The symposium covered issues ranging from Policy Framework of the Aviation Sector in Ghana, Financing Aviation Infrastructure, ‘Boosting Air Transport with Special Emphasis on Domestic Operations, Challenges of domestic airline operations and Current and Future of Air Navigation Services in Ghana.
Mr Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited speaking on the topic: “Financing Aviation Infrastructure Towards Future Development; Challenges and Options Available,” said there was funding available for the industry but said it was up to the aviation industry to build a compelling reason why resources should committed to their projects.
He said aviation companies should leverage ownership and use of their facilities to access finance.
“Be clear what you want, credit and financing is not that difficult to get” he said.
Mr Andani urged the companies to take concrete steps to make the population of the West African sub-region buy into the idea of Kotoka International Airport and Ghana as the aviation hub of the sub-region and thus encourage investment in the industry.