Parliament has been commended for facilitating the quick passage of the new Civil Aviation Amendment Law.
The Aviation Act 2015 (Act 906), passed in December, 2015, was recently given presidential assent to help bring it up to speed with international standards.
It is currently before the Attorney General(AG)’s Department awaiting issuance of instruments of accession to give legal backings for enforcement by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which is the regulator of the industry.
This came to light in Accra yesterday, when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, led by its Chairman, Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, paid a visit to the GCAA to familiarise themselves with its operations.
They were taken round key operational equipment of the Ghana Aviation Training Academy (GATA) including the Voice Communication Centre, and the Instrument Landing System (ILS).
Addressing the committee, the Director General, Mr. Simon Allotey lauded the effort of the committee for following through the international conventions and ratifying them accordingly.
According to him, the new law would afford the country the opportunity to make its aviation industry safer for passengers while enhancing services provided by its stakeholders.
He said “the law will also develop opportunities for domestic and international travel while enhancing mobility and travels within the country”.
He however called on the committee to liaise with the AG’s department in ensuring that the needed accession that will give the authority legal backings to enforce the law was put in place.
Commenting on the achievement of the authority, Mr. Allotey said there had been an upgrade of its systems to help in strict monitoring of movement in the country’s air space.
“We have also signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to foster cooperation between the two entities,” he said.
Mr. Allotey further noted that key infrastructure such as the modernisation of Air navigation and Air Traffic Management systems have been done at Kumasi, Sunyani and Tamale airports to expand the aviation sector.
Additionally, he noted that a new ultra-modern automatic weather observation system as well as new VHF radios have been installed to ensure safe landing of aircraft.
He again indicated that the authority was making an arrangement for the construction of a 37 million dollars office complex.
On challenges confronting GCAA, Mr. Allotey said issues of encroachment of lands belonging to the authority remained a major challenge.
According to him, GCAA had taken some of the matter to court while initiating processes to acquire title over its lands within the capital city and across the country.
“A similar task was put before the authority and concerted effort among stakeholders has helped the GCAA to acquire land title over its property in Kumasi. We looked forward to obtaining same in Accra from the Land Commission,” he said.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Chaie, who is also the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma Central told The Ghanaian Times that the committee would follow up with the Act at the AG’s department to ensure that the accessions were issued on time.
He said it was of necessity that work on the Act be completed for GCAA to have the legal backings to enforce the law in protecting the rights of passengers and making the country’s air space safer.
He, however, charged the GCAA to strengthen relations with its partners as the authority could not operate alone in a global world.
By Charles Amankwa and Christabel Oboshie Annan