Home-based carrier to be ready by March 2019 …. partnership with Ethiopian Airlines to be unveilled

Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Deputy Aviation Minister

The national home-based carrier is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2019, a parliamentary report has revealed.

According to the report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Aviation for the 2019 financial year, Ghana will establish a home-based carrier of which Ghanaian participatory involvement with Ethiopian Airline will be out-doored.

The conclusion to this venture, the Committee noted, will facilitate the operationising of a new home-based carrier that will provide the aviation industry pride of place and support the aircraft industry.

Parliament on Tuesday approved a budget of GH₵318m to the Ministry of Aviation for the 2019 financial year, with the Minister for Aviation, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, indicating that government is committed to transforming the aviation industry and a master-plan policy document toward this will be launched next year.

The aviation master-plan is intended for all aviation projects to ensure continuous implementation of projects.

The Committee proposed that the ministry should bring on board all the relevant ministries to promote integration of services like railways, road transport services, as well as safe and convenient car parking at the various airports.

The master-plan is also expected to increase patronage in aviation services, which will take in more revenue

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Government is seeking to establish a new national airline under a public-private-partnership (PPP) arrangement, in order to realise its vision of making Ghana an aviation hub in the West African sub-region.

The country is about emerging from the processes of a long, drawn-out search for a strategic partner to establish a home-based carrier. Ethiopian Airways is a potential strategic partner in the drawn-out venture.

For decades, Ghana Airways was the national airline with Kotoka International Airport (KIA) as its hub. However, the airline – ridden with debt – ceased operations in 2004. Attempts were made to revive its fortunes, but to no avail; and in June 2005 the airline was liquidated.

Government, with support from private investors, then established Ghana International Airlines (GIA). The airline faced difficulties, and eventually suspended its operations in May 2010. Some loose-ends in the liquidation process are still being cut or tightened.

The airline industry in the West Africa sub-region is growing. However, connectivity gaps still exist due, largely, to a weak aviation policy environment and traffic rights restrictions.

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