Give domestic airlines tax breaks – Dep. Aviation Minister designate

Yaw Afful – Dep. Aviation Minister designate

The Deputy Aviation Minister designate, Mr. Yaw Afful, has suggested that domestic airlines servicing various regional airports in the country should be given tax breaks in an effort to drive down ticket prices.

Domestic airfares, determined by market forces, have remained elevated since the demise of Starbow – the only other airline that provided domestic air services after the collapse of Antrak, Citilink and Fly540.

With the start of scheduled passenger operations in 2018 by indigenous airline PassionAir and later Unity Air, operated by trained Ghanaian aviation professionals, airfares saw a significant reduction.

For instance, a one-way ticket between Accra and Kumasi fell from GH¢400 to about GH¢250, and Accra-Tamale one-way also fell from a high of GH¢500 to about GH¢390. However, these price remain relatively high.

Speaking before the Appointments Committee of Parliament during his vetting on Monday, Mr. Afful maintained that to bring down the cost of domestic airfares, tax breaks and more competition is needed. “The only way out is to give them tax breaks. This will then reflect in ticket prices and trickle down to passengers.”

He also explained that the issue of recruiting pilots to operate the aircraft of domestic airlines remains a challenge; a situation that he said contributes to the overhead cost of operators and results in high fares.

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On the way forward, he also indicated that government has plans of setting up an aviation school at Ho to train pilots in Ghana, and by extension the sub-region, in order to have more pilots to work domestically.

When asked of other new domestic airlines coming on board, he revealed that Baby Jet airlines is likely to start operations before end of the year.

BabyJet and Ashanti Air are currently undergoing their certification process with the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The two airlines are at different stages of the certification process.

However, with the huge investments in on-ground infrastructure, investors with the capacity to render domestic air services are being encouraged.

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