The Minister for Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda has said that one of the major reasons why a proposal for disinfecting Ghana’s airport from LCB Worldwide was reject is that, it did not meet the standards of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Crisis management company, LCB Worldwide has accused the Aviation Ministry of diverting a disinfection contract it had with the Ghana Airport Company but the minister has debunked the claims and flatly rejected the existence of any contract.
According to the minister, what was presented for consideration was a proposal which feel short of international standards. The minister further challenged authorities of LCB Worldwide to show proof of any such contract or halt maligning the image of the ministry and efforts being put in place to ensure the readiness of Ghana’s airports for full commercial operation.
Addressing a press conference, the Minister said, LCB had earlier offered to undertake the exercise at a cost of US$19 million, recoverable through a US$20 charge per round trip to be borne by air passengers.
As a result, the Governing Board of Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), did not find this acceptable and turned down the offer, as it would only further add to a higher ticket cost for travelers by drawing from passengers, the equivalent of GH¢325million per year but also the move runs contrary to the guidance and standards established by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ICAO on aviation-related charges.
“Following government’s lifting of a lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, it became necessary to prepare the airports to commence domestic flights, after domestic airlines expressed their readiness to begin operations.
An alternative means was sought, using laid down government policy and due process to engage a company with the requisite capacity to carry out this rapid exercise. This was due to the fact that there had been a two-week delay in the resumption of domestic operations after Government lifted the lockdown.
I want you to know that indeed, I was the one who drew the attention of GACL to the need to ensure that airport facilities as well as incoming and outgoing cargo were disinfected, and so [GACL] should take steps to ensure that such an exercise was done. And I did this continuously for three weeks,” the minister said.
He added that since the interventions by the ministry and its agencies, domestic flights have resumed operations and all COVID-19 protocols are being observed. He noted that IATA has commended Ghana’s aviation sector for these effective measures and successful operations.
“In fact, IATA has since adopted Ghana’s standards for use in other countries. Of the African countries which closed down domestic flights due to COVID-19, Ghana is the first to restart operations. This again attests to Ghana’s leadership and successes in the aviation sector within the African continent.
Having made these matters clear to you all, we are still at a loss as to why Messrs. David Kwadwo Amoateng and Nana Poku, who are the Greater Accra Regional Branch Chairman and General Secretary of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), respectively, would still indulge in what they are doing if not perhaps because they are being influenced by considerations best known to them.”
To the minister, the executives of GUTA should be channeling their time and efforts into more productive ventures in the interest of GUTA, which needs the support of Ghana, considering the vital role they play in the national economy.
Mr. Adda also asked why the GUTA executives haven’t visited the Ministry or its agencies to engage the Minister, the Managing Director of GCAL or any of the officials to offer suggestions or complain about any wrong doing before they took to media houses. To the minister, the Aviation Ministry personnel have collaborated well with Port Health officials and in some cases, even given them assistance to do their work more effectively.