Airlines face cap on age of aircraft

The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has proposed that a cap be placed on the age of aircraft permitted to fly in Ghana’s airspace as a way of checking recent aviation incidents in the sub-region.

Acting Deputy Director-General (Technical) of the GCAA, Martey Boye Atoklo, told the Business & Financial Times “we want to look at what’s happening in other jurisdictions. Nigeria, for example, has a cap of 18 years and below. If an aircraft is over 18 years in Nigeria, it won’t get an operating certificate.”

“I think that as a nation we have to look at it again, involve all the stakeholders and then come up with, it possible, a cap. For now, there is no cap on ageing aircraft,” he added.

He was speaking on the margins of a press briefing to address the incident involving Starbow’s Takoradi-bound aircraft that was forced to make an emergency landing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), after a hydraulic failure was detected by the pilot 15 minutes into the 45-minute flight.

The British Aerospace 146 series, aircraft made an emergency landing at about 16:00GMT on Tuesday. Its age was given as 25 years, triggering the current debate about whether old aircraft should be licensed to fly in the country.

]On Thursday the GCAA announced it had temporarily grounded the last remaining aircraft of Starbow, lo check the plane’s integrity before it is allowed to fly again. Starbow owns and operates four British Aerospace 146 series aircraft; however, two have been out of service.

One of the remaining two was involved in the incident on Tuesday, leaving just one functioning aircraft, which has now been grounded. Similar incidents and serious accidents within the sub-region in the last decade are thought to have informed the imposition of the cap by the Nigerian civil aviation authority. Mr Atoklo said, “we need to do the same as a nation. It could be better than Nigeria’s.

Old aircraft can be safe as new ones so long as you are doing your maintenance checks, and following the manuals. But once others have started putting caps on ageing aircraft, you would want to follow suit”.

Source: Joy News