The minister nominee for Aviation, Cecilia Dapaah, has hinted that Ghana will have its own national airline within the next two years.
The country has been without a national airline since 2010, when Ghana International Airlines ceased operation due to high indebtedness.
Cecilia Dapaah told Parliament’s Appointments Committee that findings from a feasibility study for a new national airline, will be assessed before a major decision is taken.
She said she was convinced the country is ready for a new national airline that will begin operations within the ECOWAS sub-region.
“I’ve sighted documents that can aid us have our own airlines. I have talked to the Ghana Airports Company Limited, as well as Ghana Civil Aviation Authority. Feasibility studies have been done by the previous government and I believe we’ll have a study of the findings and add up what we have received so far and take it up from there.”
“I believe that Ghana is ready to have its own carrier. At least to start with the ECOWAs sub-region and move up to regional and then take it up from there.”
Cecilia Dapaah told the Committee that she was committed to ensuring that the national airline becomes operational, lamenting that foreign airlines have taken advantage of the ripe aviation industry and are making much profit.
“The consultants said two years, and I said we should do it in a year if possible, so between one and two years, I think that should be the period,” she said, when answering a question on when the Airline will commence operation.
Some players in the aviation industry have called for Ghana to launch a national airline to deepen the country’s participation in the aviation industry following the collapse of the Ghana International Airlines.
Successive governments have been working to revive the national airline, but their plans are yet to materialize.
Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, the Deputy Transport Minister under the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in 2015, gave assurances that the country’s new national airline will be in operation from March 2015, but that target was missed for undisclosed reasons.
In 2016, Transport Minister, Fiifi Kwetey, said in an interview that the proposed new national airline is expected to hit the skies in October, after years of preparatory works but that was again not achieved.
Ghana, however suspended plans to get a partner for the new national airline. This was because the work of the approval committee in the Public Private Partnership process has stalled following the election of a new government.
Following the liquidation of Ghana’s former national carrier, Ghana Airways in 2005 over high indebtedness, the government invited private participation in the establishment of a new national airline.
In 2004, Ghana International Airlines was established with the government owning 70 percent stake, while a US consortium GIA-USA owned 30 percent.
This however, did not stand the test of time as it collapsed after barely 6 years of operation.
The airline eventually folded up in 2010 over various issues including lack of funds and debts.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana