International Civil Aviation Day marked

Accra – Under the auspices of Ghana’s Ministry of Transport, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), the Ghana Air Force, the United Nations system in Ghana and airlines operating in Ghana have held a parade and flag-raising ceremony to mark the 66th anniversary of the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO.

Delivering the anniversary address, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Mike Hammah, who was the Guest of Honour, reiterated the Ghana Government’s determination to “spare no efforts in encouraging the accelerated development of the aviation sector.” He stressed that this was in recognition of the place of civil aviation and air transport in the economic growth of Ghana.

He noted that as the country prepared to join oil producing nations, it was an opportunity for Ghana to expand the aviation industry to build the capacity for all aviation related components of the oil industry.  He had no doubt that on completion of phase three of the on-going development project at the Kotoka International Airport the airport would become “the air transport hub, an investment and economic gateway to West Africa.”

Mr. Hammah commended efforts being made by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to regain the FAA category one status by the end of 2011 and also for being up-to-date with ICAO requirements and practices pointing to its excellent technical, operational and financial performance over the past decade.

The Minister was also full of praise for the International Civil Aviation Organisation for its work over the past 66 years in promoting and setting standards and practices for the safe and orderly development of aviation worldwide.

The Director-General of GCAA, Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey in his welcome address noted that even though the regulation of aviation safety and security was the responsibility of individual states, the emergence of globalization makes regional collaboration in that field imperative.

Mr. Mamphey pointed to the significant increase in the number of airlines and aviation activities in Ghana saying that it could be one of the factors to measure the performance of the country’s institutions and businesses. He therefore called for sustained training in all the relevant sectors of the industry to accommodate the increasing growth rate. Such training needed funding and appealed to the Government, financial institutions and individuals to support aviation agencies.

The Director General stressed that human capacity building including attitudinal change, retooling of communication, navigation and surveillance infrastructure will be the focus of the Authority in the coming years to meet the challenges of air navigation.  Mr. Mamphey expressed the commitment of GCAA to all its partners in the aviation industry.

The National Information Officer at the United Nations Information Centre,   Mr. Abraham K. Nunoo, on behalf of the UN Resident Co-ordinator in Ghana, Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, presented the message of the President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Mr. Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez. The message highlighted the economic and social contribution of air transport to the world.

Mr. Gonzalez mentioned that aviation attention was focused on “greater sharing of information among governments and industry to identify and resolve potential safety issues before they become accidents.” He observed that terrorism was a global problem that required global solution implemented in a harmonized manner and as threats changed, systems to confront them evolved. He assured that states and the aviation industry were working together to tighten security measures while simplifying procedures to reduce the burden on both passengers and airlines.

The President of the Council of ICAO noted that aviation contributed very minimal to greenhouse gas emissions, yet it had demonstrated its global leadership by adopting the first shared commitment to increase fuel efficiency and stabilize global carbon dioxide emissions aiming at two per cent annual fuel efficiency improvement up to the year 2050 and carbon dioxide standard for aircraft by 2013.

Mr. Gonzalez called for continued collaboration among governments and aviation stakeholders so that collectively they can achieve a safe, secure and sustainable aviation for the world.

The Minister of Transport, the representative of the United Nations and the Director-General of GCAA later hoisted the Ghana, ICAO and the GCAA flags respectively. The parade was formed by seven officers and 80 men and women from the Ghana Air Force and guards of GCAA and GACL under the command of Fireman Timothy Teye with the National Fire Service Band providing music.