The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) says it will, from August 1, 2016, place a Safety Charge of $10.00 on passenger tickets for international flights and $20.00 per tonne of international cargo.
The Authority said the new GCAA Amendment 2016, Act 906 has empowered the Authority, as an autonomous body, to charge for the services it renders and based on the recommendations of an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum to highlight the provisions of the Amendment Act, which amends some portions of the GCAA Act 678, Mrs Joyce Thompson, Director Legal Services, International Affairs and Corporate Communication of the GCAA, said the safety charge will be placed on all air tickets and freight charges.
It is, however, not sure if the new charges can be implemented on the said date as the Authority is yet to meet with the international airlines involved to discuss the move and address their challenges.
She said the GCAA was likely to meet with the Board of Airlines on July 26 to discuss the said charges before it is implemented.
Mrs Thompson said the new Amendment Act also presents harsher punishments for infringement of the Act, or any Directives or regulations set by the Director-General under the GCAA Act, with the maximum penalty units increased from 30,000 penalty units to 300,000 penalty units.
This means that those who infringe any of the provisions of the Act or Directives face fines of a maximum of GH₵3.6 million.
She said the scope of people to be licensed by the GCAA has also been expanded, under Section 235 of the new Act and this includes cabin crew, flight and ground engineers, air traffic safety and electronic personnel as well as all personnel engaged in aircraft operations and allied aviation services.
“If they do not carry licenses issued by the authority, they will not be permitted to discharge their functions” she said.
She added that in line with Section 29 Sub 2 of the Act, which addresses security at the airport, the Ghana Airport Company and all security profiling firms will be required to have their staff licensed by the GCAA before they can conduct their business.
Mrs Thompson said all operators within the airport will have to ensure they acquire the requisite licenses from the GCAA, adding that its economic regulations also mandated it to license all airlines, airport catering services, ground handling services and aviation freight forwarders and providers of other aviation services.
Ms Gloria Mensah, Head of the Board of Airlines, speaking on the implementation of the Safety Charge, said it will be difficult for airlines to put in the structures require to meet the 1st August 2016 implementation date for the new charges.
She expressed the hope that the two parties will be able to come to a mutually satisfying understanding during the meeting with the GCAA.
She explained that ideally and according to ICAO document, it was recommended that a notice of at least four months be given in the introduction of such fees in order for all systems to be aligned.
“Particularly IATA also has a role to play in there. There need to issue a code for this fee which would be on the tickets and globally everybody will know that this code stands for this fee and is for this country” she said, adding “I saw a lot of goodwill on the part of the GCAA to meet the airline to discuss implementation.