Ghana’s quest to become an aviation hub in the West African sub-region is gradually gaining momentum with the development of an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry.
It follows an ongoing certification process of the 3AMS-CELEMS Company Limited to operate Ghana’s first maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
When completed, it will enable airline operators, especially those in the domestic space such as PassionAir and Africa World Airlines (AWA) to undertake MRO services locally.
The move is also expected to help Ghana take advantage of the global aircraft MRO market estimated at $87.01 billion per annum.
Consequently, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has given the permission for 3AMS-CELEMS Company Limited to proceed to stage four of the five-stage certification process.
Stages of certification
A Senior Aviation Safety Inspector (Airworthiness) at the GCAA, Benjamin Owusu, briefing some selected journalists in Accra on September 22, said the stage-four involved demonstration and inspection of the MRO facility.
“It is after a successful demonstration and inspection that the final certificate will be issued for operation of MRO services to start in the country,” he said.
Mr Owusu, who is also Manager in charge of Quality Assurance at GCAA, said the certification process started November 2017 with a certification team established by the GCAA to take 3AMS-CELEMS Company Limited through the process.
This, he said, followed with a pre-application stage where the company was issued with a pre-assessment statement of intent.
He said a pre-application meeting between the certification team and the company with interest to establish the MRO facility would follow to address issues in detail.
“When we are okay with discussions in the meeting we issue the formal application package details of the company and its personnel will be provided.”
“Including the package is also the schedule of events and the kind of manuals that are supposed to be produced,” he said.
Mr Owusu stated that the third stage often takes a long time but was completed in March this year and for that reason 3AMS- CELEMS has been issued a letter into the fourth stage.
“The fourth stage being the demonstration and inspection. The certification process is under the Ghana Civil Aviation Requirement (Flight Standard) part six which is on certification of approved maintenance organisation,” he said.
The Managing Director (MD) of 3AMS- CELEMS, Clifford Martey Korley, said when the final certification was done, the new MRO operator would be able to repair and maintain single aisle aircraft and Boeing 737s in the country and the West Africa sub-region.
This, he said, meant that domestic operators, Africa World Airlines and PassionAir could service and repair their fleet locally.
“West Africa has only an MRO in Nigeria able to repair smaller aircraft despite being one of the regions where air traffic growth, prior to the pandemic in 2020, was on the ascendancy.
“There are about 32 West African-based airlines servicing the region and 10s of international flights servicing various airports in the sub-region daily,” he said.
He said airline operators in the sub-region have to either fly to Ethiopia, Egypt or South Africa to have faults and regular maintenance carried out on most large aircraft.
The hub agenda
Mr Korley said when his company's final certification was issued, hopefully by December, it would be able to service all such aircraft in the sub-region, earn money for the country and help hasten the re-attainment of category one status for KIA.
“For Ghana to become an aviation hub, the establishment of an MRO is imperative.”
"The coming on-stream of 3AMS-CELEMS Limited's MRO operations will greatly accelerate the vision of becoming the go-to aviation hub in the sub-region," he added.