The Minister for Aviation, Kofi Adda has said the closure of Ghana’s air borders gravely affected airline operations in the country.
Mr. Adda said some airlines were compelled to shutdown and layoff staff over the issue.
“Many of the airlines have shut down, some have sold their aircraft, some have laid off their staff. It has been a bad thing. We are not getting charges levied on aircraft. We are not getting flight fees because very few are moving around the country so it has been very bad for us.”
The Kotoka International Airport was closed down in March 2020 as part of measures to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus disease through importation at Ghana’s borders.
It was however reopened on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, following an announcement by President Akufo-Addo last Sunday.
The Minister for Aviation on The Point of View on Citi TV indicated that plans are afoot to support some of these struggling airlines.
He said the government “had applied for help” to ensure that these airlines stayed afloat.
The government decided to re-open the airport because public health officials can now conduct rapid tests within 30 minutes to enable the isolation of passengers who might arrive in the country with coronavirus.
Management of the Ghana Airport Company says passengers arriving in Ghana will pay a $150 fee for a 30-minute PCR COVID-19 test.
Many have however questioned how the company will deal with the overflow of passengers and accurate and swift COVID-19 testing.
The Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa, however, allayed such fears and noted that 480 tests could be conducted within 15 minutes.
He also assured that his outfit has the capacity for any overflow of passengers.
“Within 15 minutes we can test about 480 people. So taking into consideration all the odds of the maximum number of passengers we can have at a time and other factors, we have more than enough capacity.”
But some concerned individuals have raised concerns indicating that the fee is too high and must be reviewed.
Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye who explained the 150-dollar fee, noted that the amount was reasonable.
He also explained that the new arrangement was very prudent as compared to the previous arrangement where travellers had to pay for accommodation for two weeks to enable them quarantine for the period while awaiting their results.