Ghana’s aviation sector is set to commence domestic flights operations after three weeks of lockdown for passenger flights. In this regard, protocols have been developed to guide the operators of domestic flights to contain the coronavirus spread and prevent infection.
Minister for Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda, speaking during a virtual summit that was organised by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), mentioned that measures are being introduced to ensure the safety of both passengers and operators when the industry moves back into operation.
“Passenger distancing is being introduced in the sector, whereby passengers will be made to sit at a safe distance apart and also ensure that all the necessary protocols are observed onboard flights. Other measures being introduced include the testing of flight crew members before they start operation, as well as fumigation, regular passenger and handling crew sanitisation, and the acquisition of more PPEs for the Port Health officials and ground-handling personnel,” he said.
The minister disclosed that Port Health Service Officers will be stationed in all domestic airports – which formerly didn’t have any. He stressed that success for the airline transport recommencement is based fundamentally on passenger confidence.
“Passengers have to be confident that indeed, when they fly, they are safe. So, I think this concern is one that needs to be dealt with quickly,” he said.
The summit was aimed at gathering inputs from states’ agencies and participating industry stakeholders on the need to ensure a smooth restart as well as recovery of the aviation industry, and to also ensure job security for airline staff. The summit had 97 participants from 13 states.
He concluded by asking for a Marshal Plan of some sort for the aviation industry to continue supporting the development efforts of nation states, particularly in Africa. The whole range of industry players ranging from governmental agencies such as civil aviation authorities, airport managing companies as well as auxiliary service providers like freight forwarders and, indeed, even financing agencies and infrastructural development or construction companies, need to be supported.
The minister said such a comprehensive scheme will help to re-energise the sector to bring the business community, Tourism and even households back into mainstream economic development once again.