President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured the travelling public of better and improved aviation infrastructure, via upgrading existing ones into international airports and the construction of new ones to open up other parts of the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 28th Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Annual General Assembly & Regional Conference and Exhibition, President Akufo-Addo said: “The Ministry of Aviation has initiated plans for a dedicated programme dubbed ‘Aviation-driven developments’ that is set to use aviation as a driver of socio-economic transformation.
“It will see the construction of an aviation Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) at the Tamale International Airport; construction of a cargo facility; development of aviation training organisation for pilot training; and construction of state-of-the art control tower at the Kotoka International Airport among others.
“Our airports will continue to undergo systematic facelifts through infrastructure rehabilitations. We also intend to continue opening up the country by constructing additional airports to serve as feeders to KIA.”
He noted that the growth in international passenger numbers and relatively high number of airlines operating in the country are testament to the right policies being implemented.
“International passenger numbers have grown by 6.7 percent as at September 2019 compared to 2018. Air freight movement has increased by 5.9 percent. Currently, 38 airlines are operating in Ghana and they connect directly to 30 different destinations around the globe.
“1.3 million tourists visited Ghana in 2017, and the industry contributed US$2.7bn to our GDP. There was a slight decline in 2018, with an industry contribution of US$2.5bn to our GDP.
“The progress being made in the aviation sector is ample evidence of our commitment to collaborate and cooperate with all industry stakeholders, and to champion the cause of global and regional policies such as the ‘no country left behind’ initiative under the single African air transport market – thereby enhaning safety and security,” he said.
Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda said the Tamale and Kumasi airports are to be further upgraded into international airports to serve as alternatives to Kotoka International Airport, while a new airport is to be constructed at Takoradi.
“We should expect the Takoradi Airport: hopefully, by the end of this year we will conclude all of the arrangements that have to be put in place – the funding, the processes from Cabinet to Parliament. Once that is done, going into early next year we will be able to break ground and start; then we will upgrade the other airports.”
Economic benefits of airports
A study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that the economic benefits of aviation investment are still large, and provide a strong justification for investment in the aviation industry.
The study found that for developing economies the annual economic rates of return range from 16 percent to 28 percent. “Developing countries face capital costs, especially for new aircraft, that are similar to those faced by developed countries. As such, though the boost to GDP is higher in proportional terms for developing economies, the capital costs are still high. Nevertheless, the available economic return is still large and provides a strong justification for investment in the aviation industry.
“There are significant and positive benefits generated by investment in aviation infrastructure and services, particularly in developing economies. By increasing a country’s connections to the global air transport network, investment in aviation can boost its long-term productivity and economic growth.
“Greater aviation connectivity – and the improvements in productivity and GDP growth it can provide – can also help to boost a country’s competitiveness. By way of illustration, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has developed a Global Competitiveness Index for the travel and tourism sector. The WEF’s index incorporates many of the factors necessary to develop connectivity and create wider economic benefits in terms of productivity and economic growth. There is a clear, positive relationship between a country’s connectivity and its performance in the WEF index,” the report noted.
28th Airports Council International (ACI) AGM
The on-going 28th Airports Council International (ACI) Africa Annual General Assembly & Regional Conference and Exhibition, hosted by the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) headed by Mr. Yaw Kwakwa, brought together over 400 delegates from around the world.
The number represents one of the highest amounts of delegates recorded at any single ACI AGM. It is being held under the theme ‘Smart Airports of the future are we ready?’
The opening event was also attended by Mr. Ali Tounsi, Secretary General ACI Africa; Mrs. Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World; and Mr. Zouhair Mohammed El Aoufir, MD Office National des Aeroports, Morocco.