High fares, poor quality service: Ghana to apply tougher sanctions on international airlines

Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey, Director-General of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), has said the authority would take tough measures against international airlines that failed to heed calls to charge moderate fares and provide quality services to passengers.

He said although it was not government’s policy to determine airfares, it was of the position that the development and provision of a safe and conducive aviation environment coupled with market forces would ultimately have an impact on airfares.

Air Commodore Mamphey said these in a release issued in Accra on Monday, after a meeting with Ghana Airports Company Limited and foreign airline operators on their challenges in providing passengers with the best of services.

“Airlines that ply the Ghana route enjoy similar or in some cases even better air navigation and regulatory services as in Europe and the Americas but pay relatively very little for such services. It is however ironic that even with the low charges, Ghanaian passengers still pay comparatively high fares,” he added.

Air Commodore Mamphey said for the sake of providing quality service for passengers, such meetings would be held quarterly to address issues affecting operators, airlines and management of GACL and make operators part of the decision making process towards the industry’s development.

He said the GCAA was making efforts to make Ghana’s airspace even safer than it already been and the interventions include installation of several state-of-the-art air navigation and weather monitoring technology adding that the Authority would soon introduce a new flight plan format by the end of 2012.

Mrs Catherine Hoffman, Acting Director for Economic Regulation, GCAA, said airline passengers often complained about ill treatment received from flight attendants, older aircraft plying African routes and High Air Fares for routes in these parts of the world compared to similar distances elsewhere.

She reiterated the need for passengers on African routes, especially on the Ghana route, to be treated with dignity since they were paying hugely for such services.

Mrs Hoffman said GCAA intended to adopt the Eurocontrol model for en-route charging in order to help it recover at least the cost of providing the en-route services since it was currently under-recovering revenue for the services provided for airlines.

“This system of charging is not new to the foreign airlines as they are already paying for En-route services in Europe using the same formula,” she added.

Mrs Hoffman said that domestic airlines would continue to enjoy subsidised services from GCAA, as it was anticipated that if the international flights paid appropriate charges then it would cover up for the growing domestic industry.

Mrs Doreen Owusu-Fianko, Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), appealed to the airlines and passengers to bear with them, as works were on going to expand facilities at the Kotoka International Airport to meet the growing demand.

While acknowledging the rapid growth in the industry, she said that construction works could not be completed overnight and urged for consideration and cooperation to ensure that current works were not done haphazardly.

Source: GNA

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