Staff of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have revealed that their recent declaration of a strike action over the protection of aviation lands at the La Wireless Station, which is adjacent the AU Village in Accra, was instigated by a signal jam experienced when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was returning from a trip to Mali this week.
According to staff, it was an alarming situation when the Air Navigation Services (ANS), which is a department within the GCAA responsible for managing air traffic on behalf of the country could not get clear signals of the president’s jet which was in Ghana’s airspace due to activities on the aviation lands by a private developer disrupting its operations.
The staff say the development is getting scary and action needs to be taken to avert any possible disaster or ruin the nation’s enviable air traffic plaudits.
William Amoako, Spokesperson for the Coalition of GCAA workers, speaking to the B&FT noted that it is not the first time aviation workers have decided to strike but any time this happens, meetings are held and they back out.
“With what happened to the Presidential Jet we have all resolved that enough is enough and until we see documentation or get a hard proof that government is going to drive away encroachers on the land we will send a strong signal that we are doing this not for the good of ourselves but for the nation,” he said.
According to documents seen by the B&FT, the La Traditional Council, who initially designated the land to the GCAA for aviation purposes, has reclaimed portions of the land legally and sold it to a private developer who is working on it.
But the staff say part of the portion being worked on by the private developer does not only house junior staff bungalows but also sensitive aviation installations underground and activities on the land is disrupting signals from the La Wireless Station which is adjacent the AU Village in Accra.
The Union embarked on a strike action yesterday, Wednesday, October 14, 2020 as part of measures to impress on management and the state to protect aviation lands. Already, the ministers of interior and aviation are in meetings to avoid a long drawn out process. So far operations of domestic airlines were grounded with 100s of passengers stranded.
Kofi Adda, Aviation Minister told the B&FT that: “The major problem we have been worried about is the disruption of service rising out of the work of the developers who disrupt cables installed underground and affect the transmission of signals. The concern of the air navigation officials is that they cannot do their jobs effectively and efficiently and indeed last week, there was a lot of problem I understand with the Presidential Jet coming in where the signals were not very clear.
That was rising out of what is happening at the La Wireless Station area. Having met the La Traditional Council representative, and discussed the issues before us, we have come to some understanding on how we may be able to resolve the matters that are before us now.”
The minister added that more time is needed to resolve these matters and the hope is that the air navigation service officials know government is doing this in good faith. “The understanding is for us to hold back the disruption of services to flights and to allow them to continue until we get the final solution to the matter quickly. Today we would like to tell the whole public that we made progress, we found a solution to the matter that has been of concern to the professionals who are working at the air navigation wing of the civil aviation authority.”
Mr. Adda revealed that staff affected by the redevelopment of parts of the land in issue will be relocated. “We have come to some understanding on the window that we need to resolve the matters that are before us now. That is, to be able to get some time frame to relocate some of our staff that are in bungalows that have to be reconverted into new developments.
Also some of the developments that have to take place in the government allocated lands which are closer to the transmitters and receivers stations are things that we have to deal with. We will need some more time to be able to resolve these matters.”