Airports Company South Africa at the brim of clinging advisory tender in Ghana

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Kotoka International Airport. Kotoka International Airport.

Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) is finalizing a deal to advise the operator of Ghana’s main airport on the construction of a new international terminal, with funding from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

The proposed deal to advise Ghana Airports Company on a new terminal at Accra’s Kotoka International Airport would be Acsa’s first major project in Africa. The company plans to increase revenue from nonaeronautical services to 53% by 2020.

The consultancy talks follow a memorandum of understanding signed last year between Acsa and its Ghanaian counterpart.

Acsa derives about 37% of its revenue from nonaeronautical operations and the rest from tariffs charged to airlines. The tariffs are often contested, with little agreement between the regulator and Acsa on the appropriate levels.

Acsa is awaiting a determination on new draft tariffs.

The company argues that a proposed sharp drop in tariffs in 2015-16 could cause it to default on R11bn of debt or ask government for a bailout or guarantee.

A new tariff was expected to be effective from October 1 but no determination has been made and Acsa is using an interim tariff.

“We are not against a tariff cut. We long accepted that tariffs need to go down. But it is important how they go down,” Acsa CEO Bongani Maseko said yesterday.

The chairman of the airport regulating committee, Unathi Mntonintshi, said finalisation of the tariff had been delayed.

“However, it is a matter for us and the Department of Transport to resolve,” he said.

Acsa has airport concessions in Brazil and India, but a concession in Ghana was not on the table as the country did not want to privatise its airports, Mr Maseko said.

Last month, Acsa said it was looking for construction companies to partner with to expand its footprint on the continent.

Also last month, national carrier South African Airways (SAA) introduced a new route to Washington from Accra, Ghana.

Mr Maseko said Ghana had an aggressive strategy to improve its international airport offering partly influenced by the SAA route.

There are more than 200 airports in Africa but most handle fewer than 1-million passengers a year, according to Airports Council International. About 70% of the continent’s airports are expanding or creating new terminals.

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