The Minister of Aviation, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, has addressed a virtual Regional Air Transport Industry Summit for Africa.
Organised by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), a global trade association of air transport operators, the summit was aimed at gathering inputs from state agencies and participating industry stakeholders on the need to ensure a smooth restart.
It was also to brainstorm on recovery of the aviation industry and to also ensure job security for airline staff.
The summit was participated by 97 experts from 13 countries.
In his address on Tuesday, Mr Adda said his ministry had developed guidelines to enable the resumption of domestic flights operations in the country in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Minister said the guidelines were to inform the operators of domestic flights on the best way to contain the spread of the disease and prevent infection.
He said the measures were being introduced to ensure the safety of both passengers and operators, when the industry moves back into operation.
Included in the guidelines for the industry, he said, was passenger distancing, where passengers would be made to sit at a safe distance apart.
Other protocols enshrined in the guidelines were regular testing of flight crew members before they start operation, fumigation of aircrafts and airports, regular passenger and handling crew sanitization, Mr Adda said.
Additionally, he said there would be provision of more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the ground handling personnel and Port Health Service officials, who would be stationed in all domestic airports across the country.
The Minister stressed that the success of the airline transport commencement was based fundamentally on passenger safety and confidence.
“Passengers have to be confident that indeed when they fly, they are safe. So, I think this concern is one that needs to be dealt with quickly,” he said.
He proposed the development of a Marshal Plan for the aviation industry, which would focus on continuous support for the development efforts of member states, particularly in Africa.
“The whole range of industry players ranging from governmental agencies, such as Civil Aviation Authorities, Airport Managing Companies as well as auxiliary service providers like freight forwarders, and, indeed, even financing agencies and infrastructural development or construction companies need to be supported,” Mr Adda said.
Such a comprehensive scheme, he said, would help to re-energise the sector to propel economic development in the business community, tourism and even households.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS