Parliament has passed the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau Bill, 2020.
The Bill, which was approved by Cabinet last month, seeks to among other things establish an autonomous Aircraft Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau.
When assented to by the President, it will boost confidence and safety in Ghana’s air transport sector, and put the country a step further in achieving its vision of becoming an aviation hub of West Africa.
The main funding source for the bureau is 1.5 percent of the Airport Passenger Service Charge (APSC), a levy which forms part of the cost of domestic and international air tickets.
The Ghana Airports Company Limited, which receives the revenue from the APSC, is now required to give 1.5 percent to the new agency.
In 2019, a little over GH¢521 million was realized in airport taxes. However, given the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both domestic and international passenger throughput for this year, receipts are expected to fall to GH¢314.1 million.
With the projected rebound of the industry post-COVID, the Bureau is expected to be well-resourced to carry out its mandate.
The setting up of the Bureau is also in readiness for Ghana’s upcoming International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit in 2021.
Ghana in 2016 invested nearly $400 million to expand and modernize the Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport. The terminal was completed in June 2018 and was opened to traffic three months later.
This was part of a bigger plan to attract eight million tourists annually by 2027, with the view to making the country an aviation hub in the sub-region.
Last year, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rated Ghana’s aviation safety as the best in Africa after a safety audit of the country’s aviation sector.
Ghana obtained Africa’s highest score in Aviation Safety Oversight after it received the Effective Implementation rate of 89.89 per cent following the ICAO’s conclusion of its Coordinated Validation Mission.
The audit covered Ghana’s safety oversight system on all eight ICAO critical elements, including primary aviation legislation, state operating regulations and state civil aviation system, safety functions and technical personnel qualification and training.