Captain Paul Forjoe, an aviation expert, says Ghana is missing a national carrier which will enable it to take advantage of the gains in the aviation sector; a potential growth area of the country’s national economy.
Captain Forjoe, a businessman and entrepreneur, and a former deputy CEO (Technical) of the defunct Ghana Airways was sharing his thoughts with the media on Ghana’s economy for 2014.
He stressed the need to develop Ghana’s airports as hubs for the sub-region, and to service international routes as far as the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe in order to enable the country to benefit fully from the growing opportunities in the sector.
Captain Forjoe described the history of Ghanaian Aviation as a story of missed opportunities, when the country systematically “gave away” valuable routes such as the Accra – Johannesburg; Accra – New York; Accra – Dubai; Accra – Beirut, and of course, the lucrative Accra – London route, to foreign airlines after spending huge financial and human resources to build them.
Ghana, he said, also ceded the national carrier’s dominance in the regional aviation market, as the airline of choice in the West African sub region, to Nigerian Private Operators.
He noted that current trends in the country’s aviation industry pointed to a glimmer of light and hope around the corner, in this way, the need to learn lessons from past experiences.
Captain Forjoe was cleared by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) after the completion of investigations into allegations against him while at the defunct Ghana Airways.
The clearance letter from the SFO to the liquidator of the former national carrier dated 28th April 2009, which was signed by Mr. A Tetteh Mensah, Assistant Director Investigations for the Executive Director, stated that “we have found no criminal misconduct on the part of Captain Paul Forjoe of the defunct Ghana Airways” and advised that all entitlements due him which were withheld pending the outcome of SFO investigations be paid to him.
“Already we see renewed signs of life even after we literally threw away our national airline – Ghana Airways. These signs of life can be seen in private sector investments in the domestic aviation market; competition in the ground handling and catering services; increased passenger loads for domestic and international flights (in transit or origination/destination) and upgrading of Ground and Flight safety equipment, in conformity with high international standards” he stated.
Captain Forjoe commended plans to construct a new international airport in Tamale as a really good investment, and proposed the expansion or development of new domestic airports in Kumasi and Takoradi.
He said it was about time investments were made in building an international airport to replace the KIA, explaining that a new international airport would create job opportunities during its development and operation and serve as a platform for Ghana’s aviation industry to grow rapidly.
He noted that Ghana’s growing economy has made it necessary to begin investing in and creating the necessary future gateways for the anticipated growth; of which a suitable sized international airport was one.
“These investments may resolve the challenges the traveling public and the airport authorities face both at the departure and arrival halls,” he said.