Parliament on Thursday approved the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau Bill for the establishment of a dedicated bureau mandated to investigate all aviation incidents and accidents in the country.
The bill is now expected to receive presidential assent to become law.
This is a giant step in turning what is currently an office that resides in the Aviation Ministry into an autonomous accident investigative body that is well-resourced to carry out its mandate, devoid of undue influence by the industry regulator, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), and the sector ministry.
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, 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¢521m was realised 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¢314.1m.
Nevertheless, with the projected rebound of the industry to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2021/2022, the bureau is expected to be well-resourced to carry out its mandate.
The work of the Accident Investigation Bureau will be imperative in reducing the annual accident costs attributed to general aviation in Ghana and the West Africa sub-region.
In recent times there have been major initiatives, such as infrastructural projects and systems enhancements, which combined with this legislation are gradually positioning the country at the heart of civil aviation in the sub-region.
The setting up of the bureau is also in readiness for Ghana’s upcoming International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit in 2021.