The Ghana Airports Company Limited, GACL, the country’s airport infrastructure manager, has resorted to auctioning the properties of defunct local airline Antrak Air to recover an outstanding debt of GH₵1.9m.
Antrak Air, once the leading domestic airline operator, ceased operations in 2015, after it encountered challenges with its wet lease arrangement with Swift Air, a Spanish airliner. The airline had also described the operating environment as difficult and unprofitable.
Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, the Managing Director of GACL, Yaw Kwakwa, said prior to the folding up Antrak Air, it owed GACL GH₵1.9m, which was never paid.
“We went to court and received an order to retrieve our money, [but] we struggled to find any asset we could lay claim to apart from what we found at the airports. So we have auctioned off their properties at the airports, like old airplanes and office facilities,” he said.
“What we have also done is that because they still own an airline operating certificate (AOC), we are monitoring [so that] if anyone shows up with their AOC, we will then ask [them] for our money,” he added.
The GACL, which procured a loan to build the new terminal at the Kotoka International Airport, was servicing the debt until the current pandemic led to the drying up of scheduled international passengers, and with it the Airport Passenger Service Charge (APSC)—the major revenue source of the company.
The company is reportedly engaged in discussions with lenders about meeting its obligations.
The airport operator, in a statement, said it triggered “the force majeure provision under the loan agreement and has been in discussion with its lenders to meet its obligations.”