The Deputy Minister for Transport, Hassan Tampuli, has commended the Board and Management of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) for gradually steering the company out of financial challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He made these comments at the 8th Annual General Meeting of GACL held at Kotoka International Airport.
Mr. Tampuli represented the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, and said the ministry had made several interventions – including a review of the Domestic Airport Passenger Service Charge (APSC) to ease the financial burden on GACL.
He noted that the infrastructure developments being undertaken at the Regional Airports are enough justification for pursuing the review, and will relieve Kotoka International Airport (KIA) from the burden of subsidising regional airports.
He further touched on measures instituted by Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia in collaboration with the Economic Management team to streamline the Departure and Arrival Facilitation Processes, in norder to improve KIA’s competitiveness in the sub-region.
Presenting the 2021 Annual Report, Board Chairman Mr. Paul Adom-Otchere – citing statistics from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) – disclosed that Global Passenger Traffic recovered modestly in 2021, with the ICAO impact analysis of COVID-19 on Civil Aviation revealing that the number of passengers worldwide was 2.3 billion or 49 percent below pre-pandemic (2019) levels; up from the 60% drop witnessed in 2020.
He stated that ICAO further reported a decrease in the rate of global air traffic recovery in the first quarter of 2021 due to the sharp spike of COVID-19 infection. The situation stabilised slightly in the second and third quarters, mainly due to rising vaccination rates and lifting travel restrictions in various parts of the world during the peak travel season. However, this upward trend stalled quickly in the fourth quarter with the Omicron variant’s emergence.
Mr. Adom-Otchere indicated that, in Ghana, Air Traffic Movements in 2021 exceeded those of 2020 by 50.4% after government eased travel restrictions and reopened the country’s borders for flight operations in 2021. Air traffic movements for both international and domestic travel showed strong growth, with international growing at 53.9% and domestic growing 46.1%.
He touched on the Industrial Relations climate, indicating that it had remained relatively calm and peaceful as a result of deliberate and proactive steps taken by Management to resolve staff-related challenges.
Addressing the company’s 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM), Managing Director of GACL Madam Pamela Djamson-Tettey commended staff for their resilience and exemplary workmanship throughout the business recovery process following the overwhelming and unparalleled effects of COVID-19 and ensuing travel restrictions on airports.
She gave an overview of the Air Traffic Performance, attributing the leap in variance of Air Traffic Movements for both International and Domestic to the impressive growth in charters; especially cargo flights during the pandemic, increased flight frequency by domestic airlines, and flight operations on the Accra-Ho-Accra and Accra-Wa-Accra routes within the year.
On the company’s Financial Performance, she indicated that a loss of about GH¢252m was posted for the year under review ending 31st December 2021. This was an improved performance compared to the loss of GH¢435.5m in 2020. The underlying factor, she said, was a significant increase in financial cost for the Term Loan Facility for constructing Terminal 3 at KIA.
On the business outlook for GACL, she said the company will transform its revenue generating capacity by focusing on implementing and leveraging new Business Development Initiatives, as well as strategies for the growth and diversification of Non-Aeronautical Revenues.
“The Company will focus on implementing new Business Development Initiatives, strategies for the growth and diversification of Non-Aeronautical Revenues in line with its corporate objectives. In that regard, the proposed Airport City 2 Project will feature largely in the Company’s efforts to enhance its Non-Aeronautical Revenue Base in the coming years. It is expected that this approach will produce tangible results and transform the revenue-generating capacity of the Company, and drive the vision to make Kotoka International Airport a true hub and leader in the Airport Business of West Africa,” she said.
The Audit Service, on its part, opined that the Annual Report gave a true and fair reflection of the company’s financial position as at 31st December 2021.
Present at the event were the Deputy Minister for Transport, Hon. Fredrick Adom; Board Members of GACL; Management and Stakeholders from the Ministry of Finance, State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) and the Ghana Audit Service.