Aviation Minister Cecilia Dapaah in a group photograph with some of the experts
ECOWAS member states are working feverishly to introduce a common policy on charges, taxes and fees in the aviation industry in West Africa.
Experts from the sub-region have commenced a meeting in Accra to discuss the issues and conduct a study on the regional aircraft maintenance facility.
The validation workshop was organized by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) at the instance of ECOWAS Commission and the Ministry of Aviation.
They would issue a paper after the three-day meeting on the way forward.
Opening the workshop, Minister of Aviation Cecilia Abena Dapaah, stressed the need for ECOWAS member states to collaborate effectively in order to become competitive in the aviation industry.
She said the ECOWAS Region still lacks efficient, reliable and affordable air transport
The Minister underscored the need for drastic measures to overcome the challenges in the industry.
She said in 1999, African ministers responsible for civil aviation adopted the Yamoussoukro Decision, named after the Ivorian city.
Per the Yamoussoukro Decision, 44 signatory countries were expected to deregulate air services and promote regional air markets to boost transnational competition.
In 2000, the decision was endorsed by head of states and governments at the Organization of African Unity and it became fully binding in 2002.
The minister, however, said some member states have decided not to implement the decision.
She said the NPP government was working hard to ensure that Ghana becomes attractive for investments and the aviation sector is expected to play a key role in this effort.
The minister said that a new terminal at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) that is expected to process about 5 million travelers per annum would soon be commissioned.
She also said the government was in the process of upgrading the Kumasi and Tamale Airports to international status as part of efforts to open the aviation industry in the ECOWAS region.
Pathe Gueye, Commissioner in-charge of Infrastructure at the ECOWAS Commission, said the commission has been assisting member states to provide what he called “a safe, reliable and coordinated air transport system that can provide regular air links among the member states, as well as explore means of ensuring equitable access of eligible airlines to the West African air transport market.”
He said the commission is also leading member states to strengthen aviation safety and security, promote a viable airline industry in the region, implement the ECOWAS Air Transport flagship projects and Aeronautical cooperation.
Ing Simon Allotey, Director-General of GCAA, in his opening statement, underscored the need for constant knowledge sharing and stronger ties to overcome the challenges and make the industry better.
He said GCAA is committed to adopting measures to ensure safety through conformity to international standards.
By William Yaw Owusu