Accra – Ghana climaxed the celebration of this year’s International Civil Aviation Day with a parade and flag-raising ceremony at the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority Headquarters in Accra.
In an address, the Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey said as a result of the good safety rating of Ghana’s air space and civil aviation development in the country, 10 airlines are expected to start operations in the country by next year.
The airlines comprising five foreign operators and five domestic companies were currently going through certification processes to commence business. Air Commodore Mamphey mentioned the airlines as Air Namibia, United Airlines of the United States, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Airlines and Eagle Atlantic. Those for domestic operations are, Ghana Air, Gian Air, BF Jet, Fly 540 and Star Jet.
He emphasised that these developments will “strengthen our economy and improve tourism revenues for the country.” He mentioned the contributions of civil aviation to global economic prosperity and its integration rendering it a ‘global village,’ concluding that “economies of the world have been able to build international business portfolios and strong international relations on the back of civil aviation.”
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms. Dzifa Attivor, noted that “air transportation worldwide was an index and engine of economic growth and prosperity of a country in terms of movement of people and goods and the promotion and creation of employment.”
She said Ghana exports up to 50 per cent of the value of total exports through the Kotoka International Airport with over 70 per cent of tourists entering the country by air.
Ms. Attivor stressed the importance of tourism, which is emerging as the fastest growing sector of the country’s economy, by drawing attention to the role of civil aviation and air transportation in the country’s economic growth stressing that the Ghana Government had spared no effort in encouraging the development of Ghana’s aviation sector.
She said global direction in air transport navigation was a complete switch to satellite-based navigation through the GPS system and to this end a Performance-based Navigation Task Force has been established to move the country towards this new global aviation order in the shortest possible time.
The Deputy Minister hoped that when the Phase Three of the Kotoka International Airport Project was completed, the airport will become the air transport hub and investment gateway to the West Africa sub-region.
The UN Resident Co-ordinator, Mr. Daouda Toure read the joint message of the President, Mr. Roberto Gonzalez and Secretary-General, Mr. Raymond Benjamin of the International Civil Aviation Orgnisation, ICAO. They pointed to the support the aviation industry gives to businesses saying “the millions of passenger and cargo flights that criss-cross our skies have become the lifeline of economies on all continents. They provide businesses with access to the global marketplace, especially vital for land-locked or small-island states which an integral component of the world’s largest industry, travel and tourism.”
The message mentioned the contribution of the aviation industry to the provision of job opportunities. It noted that “aviation supports tens of millions of direct and indirect jobs in airlines, airports, air-navigation services, aerospace companies producing a spin-off effect on companies in the air transport supply chain and a host of related industries. “
They stressed that the economic and social dimensions of aviation could assist the realization of many of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals- promoting business development to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, which in turn could sustain other aspects of societal progress.
The parade was formed by security guards of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and Ghana Airports Company Limited with the Civil Aviation Authority band in attendance. The Deputy Ministry of Transport, Ms. Attivor, the UN Resident Co-ordinator, Mr. Toure and the Managing Director of GCAA, Mr. Mamphey together witnessed the hoisting of the Ghana, the UN and the GCAA flags by security guards.
UNIC-Accra liaised with the Office of the UN Resident Co-ordinator and the GCAA to prepare introductory remarks for the Resident Co-ordinator to the joint statement on the contributions of the UN Country Team to the Ghana’s aviation industry. Copies of the joint statement from the ICAO President and Secretary-General were made available to the media and participants at the ceremony by UNIC-Accra. The celebration was under the theme, “65 Years of Empowering the Global Community through Aviation.”