The Deputy Minister for Transport, Honourable Hassan Tampuli has commended the Board and Management of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) for gradually steering the company out of the financial challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He made these comments at the 8th Annual General Meeting of GACL held at Kotoka International Airport.
Hon. Tampuli who represented the Minister for Transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said the Ministry had made several interventions including the review of the Domestic Airport Passenger Service Charge (APSC) to ease the financial burden on GACL. He noted that the infrastructure developments being undertaken at the Regional Airports was enough justification for pursuing the review and would relieve Kotoka International Airport (KIA) of the burden of subsidising the regional airports. He further touched on measures instituted by the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia in collaboration with the Economic Management team to streamline the Departure and Arrival Facilitation Processes to improve KIA’s competitiveness in the sub-region.
Presenting the 2021 Annual Report, the Board Chairman, Mr Paul Adom-Otchere, citing statistics from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), disclosed that Global Passenger Traffic recovered modestly in 2021, with the ICAO impact analysis of COVID-19 on Civil Aviation revealing that the number of passengers worldwide was 2.3billion or 49per cent below pre-pandemic (2019) levels, up from the 60% drop witnessed in 2020.
He stated that ICAO further reported a decrease in the rate of global air traffic recovery in the first quarter of 2021 due to the sharp spike of COVID-19 infection. The situation stabilized slightly in the second and third quarter mainly due to rising vaccination rates and the lifting of travel restrictions in various parts of the world during the peak travel season. However, this upward trend stalled quickly in the fourth quarter with the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Mr Adom-Otchere indicated that in Ghana, Air Traffic Movements in 2021 exceeded that of 2020 by 50.4% after the Government of Ghana eased travel restrictions and reopened the country’s borders for flight operations in 2021. Air traffic movements for both international and domestic showed strong growth with international growing at 53.9% and domestic growing at 46.1%.
He touched on the Industrial Relations climate indicating that it had remained relatively calm and peaceful as a result of deliberate and proactive steps taken by Management to resolve staff-related challenges.
Addressing the 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company, Managing Director of GACL, Madam Pamela Djamson-Tettey, commended staff for their resilience and exemplary workmanship throughout the business recovery process following the overwhelming and unparalleled effect of COVID-19 and the ensuing travel restrictions on airports.
She gave an overview of the Air Traffic Performance attributing the leap in variance for Air Traffic Movements for both International and Domestic, to the impressive growth in charters
especially cargo flights during the pandemic, increased flight frequency by domestic airlines and flight operations on the Accra-Ho-Accra and Accra-Wa-Accra routes within the year.
On the Financial Performance of the company, she indicated that a loss of about GHS252m was posted for the year under review ending 31st December 2021. This was an improved performance compared to the loss of GHS435.5m in 2020. The underlying factor, she said, was a significant increase in financial cost for the Term Loan Facility for the construction of Terminal 3 at KIA.
On the business outlook for GACL, she said the company will transform its revenue generating capacity by focusing on implementing and leveraging new Business Development Initiatives as well as strategies for the growth and diversification of Non-Aeronautical Revenues.
“The Company will focus on implementing new Business Development Initiatives, strategies for the growth and diversification of Non-Aeronautical Revenues in line with its corporate objectives. In that regard, the proposed Airport City 2 Project would feature largely in the Company’s efforts to enhance its Non-Aeronautical Revenue Base in the coming years. It is expected that this approach will produce tangible results and transform the revenue generating capacity of the Company and drive the vision to make Kotoka International Airport a true hub and leader in the Airport Business in West Africa”, she said.
The Audit Service on its part, opined that the Annual Report gave a true and fair reflection of the financial position of the company as at 31st December 2021.
Present at the event were the Deputy Minister for Transport, Hon. Fredrick Adom, Board Members of GACL, Management and Stakeholders from the Ministry of Finance, State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) and the Ghana Audit Service.