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Point lights, lasers disrupt flights — GCAA

It has emerged that the continuous use of high lighting systems, lasers and other lighting and fire techniques illegally within the aerial boundaries of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is affecting smooth landing and take-off of aircraft.

The human activities within parts of East Legon, Tema Motorway, La Wireless, Cantonments and its environs pose a huge threat to the visibility of aircraft on both the approach and departure ends of the airport.

To this end, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has issued a fresh warning to the public, especially operators of nightclubs and individuals, to desist from using flashing lights, lasers and pyrotechnics at aircraft approach and departure pathways of the airport.

The GCAA also informed the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana Armed Forces to help clamp down on those activities that were negatively impacting on air safety.

The Manager, Safety Standard and Quality Assurance of GCAA, William Wilberforce Amoako, who made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic last Wednesday at the launch of the Safety and Environment Week in Accra, stated that the flying of drones and dumping of refuse within the airport’s aerodrome were prohibited and were punishable by law.

He explained that while drones could cause interferences in the radio frequency transmissions, leading to broken communications between the pilot and the control tower, refuse or garbage dumped within the aerodrome of the airports attracted birds which ended up attacking approaching or departing aircraft.

“We are very worried about the pyrotechnics, high lighting system, and powerful lasers, especially when the Christmas festivities are just around the corner”.

“These activities when done at the approach part often blind the pilot and landing of the aircraft and so we are appealing to the public to reduce the intensity of their lighting systems, especially the night clubs,” Mr Amoako said.

He added that the safety challenges were being recorded not only at KIA, but other domestic airports across the country.

Annual celebration
The Safety and Environment Week is an annual celebration to promote and highlight the importance of creating safe and resilient environments at all times in the aviation industry.

On the theme: “Celebrating safety through just culture: Nurturing trust, accountability, and excellence in aviation,” this year’s celebration is jointly organised for the first time by the GCAA and Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL).

A Deputy Director-General of the GCAA, Daniel Acquah, stated that this year’s celebration was a reflection of the collective dedication of both the GCAA and GACL to foster a culture where safety was paramount.

He explained that in the aviation industry, safety was not just a checklist or a set of procedures, but a mindset and a way of life.

“It is about every action, decision, moment of vigilance that ensures each flight takes off and lands safely.

And in fostering a just culture, we acknowledge that our commitment to safety is not just about rules and protocols; it’s about the people who implement them,” Mr Acquah said.

“Trust is the cornerstone of any successful aviation organisation.

Trust in our equipment, our procedures, but above all, trust in each other,” he added.

Collaborative working approach
The Group Executive of the GACL, Hanson Adu, underlined the need for stakeholders in the aviation industry to work together to ensure that the country’s airspace remained safe.

He said the industry would thrive when the regulator and operators pursued a collaborative working approach.

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