Officials brief stakeholders on progress on aviation sector issues

Accra- Aviation officials have briefed operators in the Ghana’s aviation sector on steps being taken to address issues raised at the maiden Aviation Breakfast Meeting held last year.

Airline operators, represented by the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR), raised some key issues of concern to their operations at the maiden Breakfast meeting held in 2017.

The meeting organised by Aviation Ghana; an online aviation news portal, in conjunction with the Ministry of Aviation, was to serve as a platform for aviation stakeholders to deliberate and find solutions to the issues affecting them.

Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Aviation and her team, at the second edition of the Aviation Breakfast Meeting held in Accra, briefed stakeholders on steps being taken to address the issues, stressing that it was important in order to make the meetings relevant.

I want this to be the standard; when we meet and raise issues, they should be addressed so that it will not just be a talk-shop.

Among the issues raised by the BAR at the maiden meeting were: removal of import duties on aircraft spare parts, double taxation by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), high airport taxes, high cost of aviation fuel and the impact of harmattan on airline operations in Ghana.

Mrs Dapaah assured the BAR that the Ministry of Aviation was in talks with the Minister of Finance on the removal of the duties of import of aircraft parts and was hopeful of a favourable outcome.

We are to submit a memo to him for it to be favourably considered, she said.

On the issue of double taxation by MMDAs, she stated that airlines with two offices in different places could not have the second tax removed due to the structure of Ghana’s MMDAs and added that they could apply for some mitigation on the second instead.

They cannot remove the second levy, but they can mitigate it.

Mr John Attafuah, Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) who addressed the issue of high airport taxes, noted that the high airport taxes were to help with investments in infrastructure.

He explained that Ghana had the second highest airport taxes in the sub-region, having been overtaken by Senegal last year.

He noted that the GACL was not proud of this fact; it needed the funds to invest in infrastructure such as the new Terminal -T3 being constructed.

The only way we can do that is by charging for the services we render. Mainly everything we take as airport charges have gone into financing Terminal 3.

He explained that government could not finance the project and the GACL had to prove they could repay the loan in order to get a government guarantee.

Once we’re able to clear that and bring down the cost of financing, we will be able to make a case to the Minister to speak with the Finance Minister, who will then make a case to Parliament for government to waive part of its revenue to ensure that we come down on the taxes.

Mr Dick Van Nieuwenhuyzen, Country Manager for Air France KLM, was however, not satisfied with the progress made in addressing issues, a year after they were raised.

He said cost of import duties and airport charges were rather increasing, with an extra $20 security tax added to the airport taxes, and further burdening airlines, whose profit margin were very thin to begin with, and eventually pass these costs unto passengers.

Source: Ghana News Agency