Government is prepared to set up a pilot training academy to train Ghanaian nationals to address the shortages of airline pilot professionals in the country, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Aviation, announced on Monday.
The Minister encouraged Ghanaians, especially young ladies, to take keen interest to study in the aviation sector because there are lots of opportunities to develop their potentials and contribute to national development.
Mr Adda said this when Ms Audrey Maame Esi Swatson, the youngest Female Pilot, and her parents paid a courtesy call on him in Accra. He said government was working assiduously to set up the maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities in the aviation sector to serve the whole of West and Central Africa.
Mr Adda commended Ms Swatson for her resilience and determination to pursue a course in the airline industry, saying her initiative should boost the morale of young ladies in the country to venture into the sector.
He said government was ready to support Ghanaians to undertake courses in the sector to address the shortages and gave the assurance of an enabling environment for the initiative to thrive. Mr Adda said government would invest to improve air services to attract more air traffic to the country.
He said government had expanded and refurbished the Kotoka International Airport to ease congestion and as well help facilitate the growth of tourism in the country. Ms Swatson, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, expressed satisfaction for fulfilling her dream.
She enrolled at the Mach1 Aviation Academy in South Africa where she began to live her dream of becoming Ghana’s youngest female pilot at age 21. “I obtained my commercial license to fly on December 25, 2018, an achievement I have longed for and would be a memorable day in my life,” she said.
She said the exams was very difficult, but with determination and hard work, she persevered and had her first solo flight on April 4, 2016, the same year she got her private pilot license.“My first solo flight was awesome because to go solo, you are required to take off and land on your own, and it’s more like flying in a rectangle shape,” Ms Swatson said.
“I realised my flight instructor was not on board and it scared me. I got scared that it is going to be my first time doing this with no one on board but I was successful and it made me feel fulfilled.” Ms Swatson said she had flown a total of 210 hours for the duration she was in school till she obtained her commercial license, 10 hours more than the minimum required hours to fly to obtain a commercial license.
“I am optimistic that with the acquisition of my commercial license, I hope to be an airline pilot with my qualification and ultimately be a captain and fly the Airbus A380 one day,” she said.
Ms Felicia Edem Attipoe, Aircraft Marshaller, Ghana Airport Company, advised her to be focused and continue to work hard because the environment was challenging. “The females are in the minority, I advise you to aim higher and live an exemplary life for the younger ones to emulate your shinning achievements,” she said.
Mr Kwesi Swatson, the Father, thanked all who in diverse ways contributed to the success story of her daughter and prayed that she succeeds in all her endeavours and contribute her quota to nation building.