October 1, 2020

Parliament passes Aircraft Accident Investigation Bill

Parliament has passed the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau Bill, 2020, to bolster Ghana’s quest of becoming the aviation hub of West Africa.

The bill seeks to establish an autonomous Aircraft Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau, a corporate body to investigate, prevent, regulate as well as oversee the management of aircraft accidents that occur in the country.
By the legislation, the bureau will be able to carry out investigations and produce results to acceptable international standards and practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
This will put Ghana in the league with national and international ICAO obligations and best practices and be compliant with the international aviation standards.
The bill was passed after the Minister of Aviation, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, had moved a motion for it to be read for the third time last Thursday, with 39 clauses which were subject to amendment.
It was presented to Parliament on July 14, this year, and the Speaker referred it to the Committee on Roads and Transport for consideration and report.
Background information
Presenting the report to the House, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Samuel Ayeh-Paye, said Ghana’s aviation industry was robust and had carved a niche for itself in the aviation industry globally.
“It’s an enviable reputation that predates to Ghana’s attainment of independence but that notwithstanding the country’s status was dotted with unfortunate air traffic accidents”, he noted.
According to him, since 2012, Ghana has recorded four major aircraft accidents which resulted in the death of persons and damage to property.
“If Ghana is to achieve its vision of being the aviation hub of West Africa, then its infrastructure and institutions have to be transformed to align with national and international obligations and best practices,” Mr Ayeh-Paye said.
He said the Minster of Aviation, under section 25 of the Ghana Civil Aviation Act 2004 (Act 678), was mandated to investigate aircraft accidents and serious incidents arising out of or in the course of air navigation that occurred in or over Ghana and the Accra Flight Information Region.
“The minister is responsible for aviation accident investigations and he exercises the power conferred on him in consultation with major stakeholders,” he said.
Independent body
Besides, he said the Accident Investigation Bureau was established on March 27, last year, as an administrative unit for the conduct of investigation into aircraft accidents.
“This Bureau continues to function while research into international best practices and references to ICAO standards and recommended practices (SARPS) has called into question its current alignment and subsequent need for the establishment of a more prudent and consolidated autonomous body”.
“A comprehensive report of the International Civil Aviation Organisation Validated Mission (ICVM) in Ghana, from March 20, 2019, affirmed the position of establishing an independent institution to conduct investigations into aircraft accidents and serious incidents as and when they occur”.
“Further, it has also been realised that ad-hoc investigations into aircraft teams are not only expensive in terms of operational cost but are not sustainable as far as institutional memory for future investigations, policy enforcements and efficiency of meeting international obligations are concerned,” Mr Ayeh-Paye said.
The chairman of the Roads and Transport Committee told the House that the ICAO SARPs required the establishment of a more autonomous and consolidated body to man the Accident Investigation Bureau.
In line with this recommendation, he said, the ICAO conducted a validation mission to test Ghana’s level of effective implementation (EI) of ICAO and SARPS.
“Ghana obtained an EI score of 89.89 per cent. Despite this great achievement, the mission recommended that the bureau be given an autonomous status, hence the consequential changes by way of legislation.
“The proposed transformation of the bureau into an independent bureau by the bill will empower the bureau to function efficiently and effectively and its findings will invariably receive international credibility while promoting air safety and our national image,” he said.
Landmark law
In an interview with the Daily Graphic after the passage of the bill, Mr Adda described it as a landmark law that would help Ghana maintain its lead on the African continent within safety and security together with the formation of the National Aviation Safety Coordinating Group (NASCG), which he recently inaugurated as well as the implementation of the State Safety Programme (SSP).
“The unit currently operates as a wing of the ministry but the new entity will be independent of possible interference by the aviation agencies such as the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Sector Ministry itself,” he said.

Source: General News

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