Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo, says his government has given ‘policy approval’ for the establishment of a new national airline to drive the country’s bid to be the aviation transport hub in West Africa.
According to Mr. Akufo Addo, who made the declaration yesterday at the official opening of the three-day maiden African Air Show on-going at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra, the move will strategically place Ghana to play a more critical role in the region.
“Government has given a policy approval for the establishment of a home-based carrier with private sector participation as part of efforts to fulfil our aviation hub vision, and also to enhance connectivity,” the President said.
Proposals to establish a new national airline follow the demise of Ghana Airways over a decade ago, and its successor, Ghana International Airlines, few years later.
Given the average growth rate of 7 percent in the aviation sector over the past half-decade, government is seeking to establish a new flag-carrier on a public-private basis to tap into the current growth.
Various aircraft manufacturers and prominent airlines have all expressed interest in partnering Ghana in this endeavour.
West Africa, with an estimated 350 million people – of whom most are under 35, holds enormous potential for the aviation sector that can be harnessed by Ghana with the establishment of a home-based carrier.
President Akufo-Addo further called on African leaders to fully implement the Yamoussoukro Declaration and liberalise their air spaces if the continent is to fully realise the benefits of air transport.
Africa is home to 12% of the world’s people, but it accounts for less than 1% of the global air service market.
Part of the reason for Africa’s under-served status, according to a World Bank study, Open Skies for Africa – Implementing the Yamoussoukro Decision, is that many African countries restrict their air services markets to protect the share held by state-owned air carriers.
The President therefore called on African leaders to commit to “full implementation of Yamoussoukro decision”.
In the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988, many African countries agreed to principles of air services liberalisation. In 2000, the Decision was endorsed by heads of state and governments at the Organisation of African Unity and became fully binding in 2002. However, over the past decades implementation has fallen short.