Four more airlines licensed to operate in Ghana
 
Posted on: 2011-Jun-28        B&FT
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Four local entities have been issued with air carrier licenses by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to operate domestic and regional flights starting September this year, B&FT has gathered.

The four Ghanaian registered carriers whose names were not quickly made known to the B&FT are said to have already eyed the west-coast of the sub-region, where there is a grey market for new entrants to the aviation industry to ply their trade.

The Director-General of the GCAA, Air Cdre Kwame Mamphey, in an exclusive interview with the B&FT said he was buoyed by developments in the industry with local carriers taking part in the growing aviation market.

“We have registered a number of local carriers -- that is, Ghanaian registered carriers -- and they should be starting operation by the last quarter of the year. There are about four of them, in addition to what we already have.

“And now the majority of them are also going into the regional sector. As of now, we don’t have any carrier doing the west-coast. So by the last quarter of this year, we will also be participating in the operations along the west-coast,” noted Air Cdre Mamphey.

Currently, there two Ghanaian registered airlines -- Antrak Air and CiTylink -- flying domestic operations. Other airlines which are not Ghanaian-owned but fly directly to the west-coast include Aero, Air Ivoire and Slok Air Gambia.

Despite the increasing local participation in the aviation industry, one of the two present indigenous operators is less enthused about developments in the aviation front.

The chairman of Antrak Group, Alhaji Asuma Banda, recently lashed out at the industry regulator for doing little to protect the interest of local air carriers as it (the Authority) has over-liberalised the country’s airspace to the detriment of Ghanaian airline operators.

Alhaji Banda explained that even though other countries in West Africa were signatories to the same agreements that promote liberalisation of airspace among countries, they are not over-liberalizing their airspace like Ghana is

Alhaji Banda cited examples of the difficulties one has to go through to receive overflying permits from some African countries to use their airspace, and the refusal of countries such as Nigeria to allow airlines from other West African countries to fly directly to Nigeria.

These countries have reserved direct flights to their country for their local operators, unlike Ghana, he said, adding “over-liberalising does not help us.”

Air Cdre Mamphey, however, has dismissed the allegations of the Antrak boss as false, saying: “I don’t think that that statement is right…We have opened up competition so that we can see more efficient airlines being run in the sub-region. I disagree with his statement.”

Last year, Ghana’s aviation market grew by 15 percent and the same growth rate figure is expected for the industry this year. However, the GCAA estimates that growth of the industry will slow down to about seven percent in the next three years.