The Kotoka International Airport (KIA) has been awarded the Routes Africa Airport Marketing Award for the second time in a row; the first time that an airport has won and retained that award.
The award, which was presented at the Routes Networking event held at Cap Lazare, the Seychelles, is the final heat to the World Routes Awards to be held in Abu Dhabi later this year.
By winning of this award, KIA automatically qualifies to participate at the world event where they it compete with the regional winners from Asia, Europe, the Far East and the Americas.
Mrs Owusu Fianko, Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), addressing the media at the KIA, after team returned from Seychelles on Friday, said the award was not given based on how big or beautiful an airport was, but rather on how functional it was in meeting the needs of its customers and stakeholders.
She noted that although the KIA was not able to meet the challenge of being awarded the Best Airport at the Routes world event last year; it was committed to working to ensure that it won the award in the future, and added “Very soon, we’ll be honoured with that award”.
Mrs Fianko said the GACL was currently working on building new parking bays, to accommodate eight wide bodied aircrafts that currently fly to the KIA since the current bays were originally made for smaller single isle aircrafts.
She said that the final designs for the expansion of the terminal would be presented at the end of July.
Mrs Fianko explained that the expansion would give KIA the capacity to cater for about 15million passengers and address the challenge of the currently choked terminal caused by a rise in passenger numbers.
She commended the staff of GACL for their efforts which culminated in winning the award, as well other frontline workers at the KIA, especially customer service workers.
Mrs Fianko said they were responsible for exhibiting the hospitable Ghanaian nature to customers at the airport.
Mr William Orhin, Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), congratulated the GACL on winning the award for the second time.
He said that in spite of the recent Allied Air crash and its related issues, he was amazed at the confidence with which the travelling public had picked up flying again to the KIA.
Mr Orhin noted that the GCAA and the GACL worked together to meet common goals of keeping the KIA and Ghana air space safe and secure.
He said: “We are proud that what the GACL has been doing in-house has been recognised internationally” and that it had motivated and spurred them on to higher heights in their work as regulators.
Mr John Okwasie Arthur, Director Commercial, KIA, who was part of the three-member delegation that to the Seychelles to receive the award, said the KIA competed with Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere International Airport, Uganda’s Entebbe International, Gambia’s Banjul International and South Africa’s Oliver Tambo International Airports.
He said that the award was based on the functionality of the airport rather than its size or beauty and added that there were challenges that the KIA needed to addressed.
Mr Okwasie said: “the judges indicated to us that they were looking at our performance in terms of passenger throughput, collaboration with stakeholders, the fact that they held their maiden AGM and their adoption of the Mole D/A Primary school.”
He said that the award would encourage KIA to do more and to find ways to address the challenges.
Passenger traffic at the KIA has increased from 1.4 million in 2010 to 1.8million in 2011, with international passenger traffic increasing by 14 per cent in 2011.
David Stroud, Executive Vice President, Airports-Routes on the organisation’s website said: “we are delighted that Kotoka has won this regional heat of our awards and will now compete with the other shortlisted airports in the world routes airport marketing awards later this year”. GNA