Airlines struggle to fly to US
Posted on: 2010-Jun-07        Business Guide
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The launch of Delta Airlines’ direct flights from Ghana to Atlanta in the United States has generated uproar in the aviation industry.

Presently, five local airlines have expressed interest to operate direct flights from Ghana to the US.

However, they are limited because Ghana does not have the license after its enviable federal aviation authority category one status, which allowed Ghanaian airlines to fly directly to the US in 2005 was downgraded a result of fallen standards in the industry.

Since then travelers have had to transit at various points in order to get to their various destinations in America.

Many people have raised concerns over how a US airline can fly directly to Ghana when others operating in the country cannot.

But the Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey, explained that Delta Airlines is based in US and has its certification from the US aviation authority, noting that the local airlines need certification from the GCAA.

He said the authority, in collaboration with government, is working to resolve all deficiencies in safety and security in the country’s aviation industry.

As part of efforts to implement the international civil aviation organization and the federal aviation authority category 1 action plan, the GCAA is in discussions with the United States federal aviation authority.

And the Director General is optimistic that before the end of next year, Ghana would move from Category two to category one status.

Deputy Minister of Transport, Dzifa Attivor, speaking to journalists after the launch of the new Delta Routes, hinted that measures are being put in place to ensure that Ghana gets a first class aviation industry.

Activities in the aviation industry are gradually improving after the discovery of oil and gas in the country.

Air traffic in Ghana is projected to increase to 27,882 in the next 20 years from 15,225 in 2009, with passengers expected to increase from 980,468 to 2,021,291, representing an average annual growth of 18 percent.

In a bid to give the airline industry a face lift, the phase three of the development project of the Kotoka International Airport is on course to make the airport the preferred choice.

The Kotoka phase three project is estimated to cost $51 million.

It is expected to include the construction of a fire station that is equipped for rapid response in times of emergency, reconstruction of taxi way pavements, installation of aeronautical ground lighting systems and fuel mains.