Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. YawOn-going air supremacy is apparently the key to peace-breaking and peace-keeping in our world. Troubles on our continent rumble on, punctuated with the use of no-fly zones, air strikes, surveillance and, most importantly from my standpoint, protection and evacuation of innocent civilians who may otherwise be unable to save their souls.
Of course, the activities in
I remember arriving in
Changes happened daily. Afgo opened its doors, more and more cargo aircraft seemed to stream to the nation, bringing with them mining equipment, telecoms equipment, needed and wanted items, brought in hours – and now cleared in a fraction of the time that it took before. These same aircraft left the nation loaded to the gunnels with pineapples, vegetables, arts and crafts and high value items that air transport is synonymous with. I remember clearly, visiting an Air Ghana chartered 747 cargo plane during loading – the nose section lifted hydraulically to reveal the cavernous interior of the transport cylinder that consumed heavily loaded pallets of grown and made in Ghana goods, to consumers in Europe. Standing there, I watch the mechanised aircraft ‘load and lock’ the pallets of fruit and vegetables, contrasting so dramatically with the conditions in the fields where they were grown, and the living conditions of those who laboured over their cultivation.
Passenger aircraft numbers grew in consequence of the trade, for the trade in new, often called ‘non-traditional’ exports, stimulated buyers to come to
Today, the airport and aviation infrastructure of
With these changes, the infrastructure of the airport has changed; whether for departure or arrival, Kotoka International Airport offers us ‘pleasurable’ passenger air travel logistics – well, as much as it can be! It is easy to forget where we have come from, but, if you reflect a little, you can clearly see where we are heading! There are still some airframe skeletons parked in different places, but there are many, many more aircraft of more recent years, in full and regular operation, not only the airliners, but also the apparent fleets of Beechcraft and smaller regional machines, helicopters and biz-jets - and they are not sitting on the apron for very long before the whirr of their engines signals life in their form.
People raise concerns about how busy Kotoka has become. It is not busy. Yes, it is busier than it used to be, but it is nowhere near as busy as it could be! For as far we have come in the past 25 years of the existence of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, so we have far to go. Fortunately, the leadership in GCAA can see that future, and are willing to work towards it, maintaining international standards and ensuring safety and security is the baseline upon which all aviation developments must build.
Of course, we have other airports in
Alongside the increase in activities at the international airport and in Takoradi, there have been changes too, at the regional airports. Sunyani,
Of course, with the decoupling of GCAA a few years ago, the Government airports are now under GACL (Ghana Airports Company Ltd), and so the ‘economics of today’ are likely to affect investment over and above the ‘essential service potential’ that such sites offer. Fortunately, many community and private airfields are springing up, such as Techiman, Mim, Kpong and several agricultural ones too.
Ghana Civil Aviation is not just about the airlines, airports, transport and oil movements, not at all. The extraordinary growth in light aviation in
As we witness the marking of 25 years of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority in the coming weeks, I would like to leave a thought that was shared with me recently.
‘Those who live by the sea, or near a lake, learn to swim and sail, and to take advantage of it as a resource. Those who live by the mountains learn to climb and trek, and to take advantage of it as a resource. Those who live by precious metal reserves learn to mine and to take advantage of it as a precious resource. Yet, we all live by the sky, but few learn to fly and take advantage of it – and it is the biggest and most unexploited resource on the planet.’
Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics (http://www.waasps.com/ http://www.medicineonthemove.org/ e-mail email@example.com)