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Controversy Airport company clears the air

The provision of Ramp service at an airport requires the service provider to meet the underlisted requirements

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The Ghana Airports Company has issued a fact sheet clarifying its decision to direct domestic airlines to out source ground operations to the foreign companies Aviance Cargo and Menzies, certified ground handling companies at the Kotoka International Airport.

The Airport Company gave the directive earlier this week citing the specialized nature of the management of ground handling services.

In a  fact sheet released by the company, and sighted by pulse.com.gh, the company has defended the directive, saying, it is not a move to cripple the operations of domestic airlines in the country.

This decision has been flagged as one which will drive up cost of operations for the airlines.

Below is a fact sheet from the company:

Introduction Aircraft ground handling is defined as the servicing of the aircraft while it is on the ground usually parked at an apron. Overview of ground handling include but not limited to cabin service, ramp service, passenger service.

Ramp service 
Ramp service activities includes but not limited to the following:

• Towing of aircraft
• Lavatory drainage
• Luggage handling 
• Provision of ground power
• Passenger stairs
• Wheelchair lifts etc.

Passenger service 
Passenger service activities includes but not limited to the following:

• Provision of check-in counter service
• Facilitation of Boarding and deboarding of passengers

Cabin service 
Cabin service activities includes but not limited to the following:
• Cabin cleaning 
• Replenishing of on-board consumables etc.

Self-handling is the process where the airline handles ramp service, passenger service and cabin service by themselves.

What GACL is requesting Domestic Carriers at KIA to do? 
GACL is requesting domestic carriers to cease ramp service operations due to the specialized nature of the service and use the services of the two certified ground handling companies at KIA.

The provision of Ramp service at an airport requires the service provider to meet the underlisted requirements.

• ground handling training and competency certification
• industry prescribed ground handling equipment 
• mandatory insurance premiums to cover such operations.

Over the years, in a bid to allow the domestic operations in Ghana to grow, GACL/GCAA allowed self-handling by the domestic carriers until four years ago when GACL started engaging the domestic airlines to cease self-handling at KIA and the regional airports due to non-compliance of their ramp service activities in line with the industry practice.

The aviation industry has started imposing strict certification requirements for all airports that handle civil/commercial flights.

In September 2015, Kotoka International Airport will undergo one of the stringent Safety Audits by the Airports Council International (ACI). ACI is a body of 573 member airports of which Ghana is a member. The prime purpose of ACI is to ensure a safe, secure and efficient airport management and operations among its member airports

The audit will among other things evaluate the implementation of strict safety procedures, certification of competencies and appropriate insurance premiums on all activities that takes place on the airside of KIA.

The outcome of the audit will have a direct impact on the international safety rating of KIA in particular and Ghana as a whole.

Engagement with Domestic Airlines 
Over the past four years, the GACL has been engaging the domestic airlines to cease self-handling of ramp services.

In view of the fact that the domestic airlines do not have the necessary ground handling competency certification, industry prescribed ground handling equipment and the mandatory insurance premiums to cover such operations, and the impending audit, GACL has requested the domestic airlines to cease self-handling of ramp services with effect from 15th August 2015.

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