The Ghana Association of Aviation Training Organisations (GAATO) has been inaugurated in Accra.
Made up of 13 aviation training institutions the association has the objective of standardising and harmonising the training of aviation professionals in the country, and eventually drive the aviation sector to help realise the dream of Ghana becoming an aviation hub.
Among the institutions in the group are the Ghana Civil Aviation Training Academy, Anchor Aviation College, GH-Aviation Training Institute, Buckman Aviation, Global Institute of Aviation, CTK Flight Academy and Aerovector Aviation.
The rest are Runway Aviation, Prudential College, Primo Aviation, International Travel and Tourism Institute, Prominence Institute of Management and Professional Studies and Crystal Galaxy College.
The members will share expertise and resources and work with other stakeholders to push the cause of the aviation sector, and especially facilitate the dream of making Ghana an aviation hub.
The formation of GAATO also means that there will be enough collaboration among aviation institutions and enable them to have a collective voice in fighting for a common agenda.
The Minister of Aviation, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, who inaugurated the association at a ceremony in Accra last Friday, described the coming of the association as welcome news since it would formalise the institutions, and also enable them to seek support that would build them to match the global competition.
He said Ghana would become competitive in the aviation training when it built up professionalism and delivered services consistent with global standards.
“We need to refine the way institutions deliver the training service to the youth and support them in that effort.
That way, they will be able to deliver the right level of services to their customers,” he said.
Mr Adda urged the association to put measures in place to host the first continental aviation training summit in Africa in order to attract global attention to Ghana.
“With oneness and conscious effort, we can uplift the state of professionalism in our aviation sector and that will help achieve the feat of making Ghana an aviation hub,” he added.
The president of GAATO, Mr Charles Yaw Twum, bemoaned the high level of unemployment of graduates from the aviation schools.
He said in spite of the high demand in aviation services in Africa, which placed a high responsibility on aviation training schools, students who went through aviation training in Ghana barely got employment.
He observed that the development had the potential to threaten the very existence of aviation training in Ghana.
“Africa needs about 18,583 pilots, 7,030 air traffic controllers and 1.3 million maintenance personnel.
There is, therefore, the need for government to create the enabling environment to expand the aviation industry to absorb this teeming youth,” he said.
Mr Twum indicated that the introduction of GAATO would be the gateway to training the next generation of Aviation professionals and, therefore, enjoined all other aviation institutions to come under the umbrella to enjoy its benefits.
“We eventually intend to make it possible for our members to have access to network of approved civil organisations worldwide, access to cost effective training and facilities, have common acceptance of training certificates and increase capacity to commercially benefit from the widening demand of Aviation training,” he added.