Major boost for aviation industry… as parliament passes Air Navigation Services Agency bill

Minister for Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda

After a decade and a half of advocacy by aviation industry players for Ghana to follow best international practices, parliament has unanimously passed the Air Navigation Services Agency (ANSA) bill to decouple Ghana’s air navigation service unit from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

The act, which was passed by parliament yesterday November 4, 2020, will lead to establishment of the Air Navigation Services Agency to provide air navigation services within the air space of Ghana, and any other airspace under the control of Ghana and other related matters.

Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda last Thursday moved for the bill to be passed by Parliament, and Chairman of the Roads and Transport Committee, Samuel Ayeh-Paye, seconded the motion and presented the report to the House.

The third reading and passage of the bill was done on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 and is now awaiting Presidential Assent. This move adds to Ghana’s continuous high record of improving aviation sector reforms in line with attaining the president’s vision of making Ghana the aviation hub of West Africa.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) have over the years pushed for this as they believe the move will ensure efficient cost-effective and customer – oriented air navigation services to airlines and other users.

According to them, GCAA’s (became an authority in 1986) responsibility as both a regulator and services provider, acts as a constraint hence the need for the separation to resolve any conflicts of interest.

Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, had earlier told journalist that the setting up of the ANSA is “In line with the government’s agenda to turn Ghana into an aviation hub. This exercise, when finally implemented, would further ensure that high safety standards are met at the country’s airports.”

According to the Global Journal of Management and Business Research 2013, experiences in other countries have shown that when there is separation of the regulator from the service provider, it unlocks the values of providing a better service.

Air Navigation Service (ANS) providers deliver air traffic management; communications, navigation and surveillance systems; meteorological service for air navigation; and aeronautical information services, among others.

It would be recalled that some four months ago, parliament passed a bill for the establishment of an Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Bureau, effectively taking out the Accidents Investigation function from the GCAA.

There were growing concerns over the GCAA’s investigations of accident cases with many believing it smacks of conflict of interest as they regulate the airspace. When established, the bureau will also be responsible for investigating aircraft incidents and accidents in the oceanic region within the Accra Flight Information Region.

According to the objective of the bill, the Aircraft Accident, Investigation and Prevention Bureau would be an autonomous corporate body with the mandate to investigate, prevent, regulate and enable the management of aircraft accidents that occur in Ghana.

The bureau is expected to have a seven-member board, consisting of a chairperson with experience in aviation matters who is nominated by the President, a legal practitioner and representative of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana Institute of Engineers and the Ministry Responsible for Aviation. The Commissioner and one other person nominated by the President would be members of the board.

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