Johannesburg - Airports Company SA (Acsa) is to provide consultancy and advisory services to the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) as that country expands and upgrades its airports.
Acsa chief executive Bongani Maseko said although he did not know yet what the value of this agreement would be, the two state-owned airport management companies had signed a five-year agreement.
Acsa would advise and help Ghana with the retail development of its airports, maintenance, engineering, ground handling operations and security, among other things.
Ghana’s Accra International Airport has the capacity to accommodate 250 000 passengers a year, but is handling 2.5 million as the country’s domestic air traffic has grown by over 30 percent a year and international passengers by about 10 percent.
GACL is tasked with modernising Kotoka International Airport in Accra, three regional airports and other airfields. Kotoka International Airport’s upgrade will include the building of a new terminal.
“Ghana is experiencing the rapid growth that we were experiencing 15 years ago. We’ve been through the challenges they are facing. But this partnership will not be a one-way street. We’ll look at the learnings [sic] we get and see what can be implemented in South Africa,” Maseko said.
He said, for instance, in Brazil where Acsa has an airport concession, it noticed that Guarulhos International Airport’s information technology approach was different and it was looking at how it could adopt this in its system. In Mumbai the lesson that Acsa took home was the airport’s different retail approach.
Acsa has equity stakes in Mumbai International Airport in India, and at Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, Brazil.
In its annual report last year, the company said the Mumbai partnership, which has been in place for six years, had proved to be a worthwhile undertaking.
Maseko said Acsa would not close the door on any opportunity that came its way.
“The Ghana opportunity is self-funding, but we have taken an approach that even if the opportunity is not self-funded, we are not going to close the door on anybody. We will club together with financial institutions where there is no self-funding. But we will not expose Acsa’s balance sheet to any risk,” he said.
Maseko said unless it received another high-yielding commercial airport concession opportunity, Acsa would not borrow money for projects it became involved in outside of South Africa.
Maseko said Acsa was eyeing more strategic partnerships in other African states and airport concessions in other parts of the world.
“We’ve said that we will not be geographically limited as to where we go,” he said.
He said Acsa’s international strategy, embroiled in the company’s 10-year business plan that was launched last year, was aimed at increasing its international revenue.
In the 2013 financial year, airport concessions made up 10 percent of Acsa’s non-aeronautical revenue. These revenue streams include items like retail, car parking and property rentals, and together generated R25 million, or 36 percent, of the company’s revenue last year.
Acsa said concessions continued to be a stable and growing source of its revenue.