Ministry engages US Amb. over regaining FAA Cat 1 …as national carrier takes shape

The Aviation Ministry is engaging the US Embassy in Accra about the restoration of Ghana’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status that it lost years ago.

Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, during a courtesy call on him by the US Ambassador, Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, asked for a closer working relation towards the restoration of the country’s FAA Category 1 status.

He noted that given the country’s quest to re-establish its home-based carrier and the significant Ghanaian community in the United States, the restoration of the FAA Category 1 status will enable Ghana’s flag carrier, and other registered Ghanaian airlines, to operate flights into various parts of the US in the near future.

There is an estimated quarter of a million Ghanaians living in the United States. Though they live across the US, various sources point to New York, Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland as the areas with high concentration of Ghanaians.

The economic benefits from a country being designated as a Category 1 country are extensive, as according to the FAA it “allows new, direct, highly desirable, and profitable routes into the United States”. It also allows code-sharing with a US air-carrier.

Put simply, Ghanaian registered carriers will be able to offer flights to the US – just as Ghana Airways used to do in the past – and form meaningful partnerships with US carriers, thereby offering passengers more travelling options from Ghana to the North American country.

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Ambassador Sullivan said her outfit will continue working with Ghana’s aviation sector regulator, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to work on regaining the status subject to the US FAA’s assessment and approval.

Reforms led by the Aviation Ministry, according to analysts, have placed the country in a pole position to move from its current Category 2 status to Category 1 Status soon, after over a decade since the downgrade.

They include: the recent inauguration of the National Air Transport Facilitation Committee; obtaining Africa’s highest score in Aviation Safety Oversight after scoring a provisional Effective Implementation (EI) rate of 89.89 percent; and the expected decoupling of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) from Air Navigation Services this year.

The expected establishment of an independent Accident Investigations Board, and amendment of the GCAA Act are all major developments in line with UN agency the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) requirements.

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