Airlines seek 14 days’ prior notice to airport’s re-opening … but on alert for Sept 1 projections 

Gloria Yirenkyi, Chairperson of the Board of Airline Representatives in Ghana

Airline operators in the country have asked the Ministry of Aviation to give them at least 14 days’ prior notice after government stakeholders in the aviation sector come to a firm conclusion as to the date for re-opening the air borders.

The move, they explained, is to afford them enough time for configuring their systems to allow for ticket sales and setting up routing schedules with neighbouring countries to optimise the operations which have gone down for the past five months.

Chairperson of the Board of Airline Representatives in Ghana, Gloria Yirenkyi, told the B&FT in an interview that: “Generally, most airlines have said that they need at least a two-week notice to be able to put inventory back into the local booking distribution system for sale. That is a very general thing I can say for most carriers

“There was a meeting in July held by the Aviation Ministry to brief stakeholders on the safety protocol measures being put in place in preparedness for the resumption of operations. The airlines made the case that 14 days’ prior notice would help them to start operation on the exact date that government announces, and also ensure that all players in the sector are aligned.”

Her comments come on the back of President Akufo-Addo’s announcement that government is working to re-open the borders – depending on the readiness and ability to ensure that every passenger who arrives in Ghana is tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In his 15th national address on measures being taken against spread of COVID-19 on Sunday night, August 16, 2020, the president said government is hoping that by September 1, 2020, the assessment of readiness to test all passengers would have been completed to enable the borders to re-open.

According to the airlines, even though the assessment is ongoing and they have put their operations on alert, they will be grateful if they are given enough notice to prepare immediately the decision is firmed-up.

However, Ms. Yirenkyi said many of her members are ready for a take-off. “In terms of operational readiness and capacity, I believe all the airlines are doing some form of operations. You can see that even from here there have been repatriation flights by about three or four international carriers. There are lots of overflights as well; flights are going on, some of them landing in Accra for technical problems – specifically in the case of South African Airlines”.

Calls placed to some airlines revealed that in terms of flight schedule and frequency, the specific carriers will analyse the continental and global dynamics to make a decision.  Meanwhile, the Ministry of Aviation, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) are working with the Ministry of Health and its agencies to ascertain the country’s readiness to re-open the airport. That process, the B&FT gathers, will end soon.

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