The Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) collected about GHȼ475.56 million in revenue from the use of the country’s airport facilities by airlines and their passengers in 2018.
Representing an increase of 36.98 per cent over the previous year’s GHȼ347.17 million, the revenue collected will help to service part of the loans secured for the construction of Terminal Three (T3) of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.
The 2018 full year fiscal data released by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on March 21 indicated that although it recorded a rise, the amount collected fell short of about GHȼ17.8 million against the GHȼ493.36 million projected in the 2018 mid-year budget.
The outgoing Deputy Minister of Aviation, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, in a telephone interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at the weekend, confirmed that revenue made through airport tax would be used to settle the loans secured for the new terminal.
"The country borrowed huge sums of money to build Terminal 3 and our focus now as a government is to ensure that the loan is settled in order for us to concentrate on other projects," he said.
Already, he stated that GACL had commenced repayment of loans sourced for the US$250million terminal.
"In fact, every month we pay US$17million to service the loans secured for the construction of the new terminal building," he said.
Checks by the paper showed that the loan for the project was secured from Africa Development Bank (ADB), the Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF).
The US$250 million credit facility is part of a US$400million estimated cost to develop other airport infrastructure in the country.
Mr Darko-Mensah explained that airport tax was a tax levied on passengers for passing through an airport.
“The tax is generally imposed for use of the airport and is one of a number of taxes that are typically included in the price of an airline ticket. Revenue from airport taxes fund is used for facility maintenance.”
Growth in revenue
The outgoing deputy minister stated that the growth meant that measures by the government to develop the country's aviation industry was already paying off.
He mentioned the removal of the removal of the 17.5 per cent value added tax (VAT) on domestic airfares as one of the measures which has led to an increase in the number of domestic air transportation.
Also, he attributed the growth to the increasing competition between Africa World Airlines (AWA) and Passion Air in the domestic space.
"Passion Air for instance is able to carry more than 1,300 passengers per weekend and this is accountable for the 36.98 per cent rise in revenue for the GACL.
"On the international front, we have made things seamless in a way that an individual who intends to travel to Dubai but lives in Kumasi, Takoradi or Tamale to does so easily by using KIA as a transit point," he said.
Going forward, Mr Darko-Mensah observed that the government was hopeful that the aviation industry would boom, given the growth it had experienced in recent times.
Asked whether it would be able to achieve the GHȼ567.61 revenue target from airport tax this year, he responded in the affirmative, explaining that the industry was growing about eight per cent averagely per year on passenger throughput and ‘so the target was achievable.’
“Analysis of the trend in passenger throughput in West Africa for instance shows that Ghanaians now travel more than Nigerians,” he said and added that the country was on the right track in terms of becoming an aviation hub in the West Africa sub-region.
"With this year also tagged as 'Year of Return', we are optimistic that passenger traffic would grow tremendously and the revenue target would be exceeded," Mr Darko-Mensah who is the incoming Western Regional Minister added.