The Minister for Aviation Joseph Kofi Adda has told the B&FT that preparations are still ongoing for the planned reopening of the Kotoka International Airport for international travellers.
The minister said that as part of the measures, there will be testing of the facility today (Thursday August 27, 2020) to ascertain its robustness and preparedness to handle the safety protocols outlined by the Ghana Health Service.
“We are working hard; the Ghana Airport Company is working with the service providers who are going to help us with the testing and the implementation of the protocols. The Ghana Health Service (GHS) through the Port Health are also working with us; they are busy putting all the finishing touches together. We have done a good job, we may not be quite there but we are going to test the system to be sure it is right before we open,” he said during a tour with the media of some ongoing projects in the sector.
He added: “For now I can say that we are on course; in the sense that we have gotten the protocols from port health services, we have gotten the input of the airlines and their home offices; we have taken in standard practices and recommended protocols coming from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO); all those are being fed into the standard operational procedures that we will be implementing when we open the airport again,”
Meanwhile, the GHS last Friday (August 21, 2020) issued guidelines for the safe reopening of international travel in the country amidst the Covid-19 outbreak. The guidelines captured in a notice from GHS to the management of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) requires the airport to ensure temperature monitoring continues at both arrival and departure terminals.
The management of Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is also to ensure compulsory mask wearing for all passengers (both arriving and departing) as well as staff.
In the notice, the service also indicated that it had observed overcrowding as one of the factors contributing to the spread of the virus, therefore it urged Ghana’s only international airport to ensure there is no congestion at all sections of the airport. GHS wants all departments of the airport (arrival, departure and environs) to enforce strict social distancing protocols. The Ghana Health Service further stated that KIA must ensure social distancing and compulsory mask-wearing at the car parks and in front of all terminals.
Airline operators last week requested 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 to configure their systems to allow for ticket sales and setting up routing schedules with neighbouring countries to optimise their operations which have gone down for the past five months.
The Minister said the notification process was ongoing: “We met the airline yesterday (August 25, 2020) we will be meeting them again on Friday (August 25, 2020) to fine tune all these things, that is when we can tell you exactly what will happen once we open the airport again. On Friday we will conclude on all the matters.
With barely five days to the projected September 1 reopening date, some stranded travellers are anxious awaiting a definite pronouncement from the President.
Minister for Aviation Joseph Kofi Adda