President John Mahama has disclosed plans to expand the Tamale International Airport, says the conversion of the Tamale airport into an Aerotropolis, which will be a major hub to service the airline industry in the sub region.
The planned airport city will provide one stop airport support facilities including hotels, conferencing facilities, shops, restaurants among others.
The President who was addressing a brief ceremony to see off the first batch of pilgrims who flew directly from the Tamale Airport to Jedda, Saudi Arabia said the newly expanded Tamale International Airport feeds into the requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for States to have an alternate airport that has similar capacity as the main airport in any country.
He also announced ongoing feasibility studies to build a new airport in the Central regional capital, Cape Coast and Bolgatanga in the Upper East.
President Mahama observed that the vision of ensuring that every region in Ghana gets an airport is in line with government’s transformation agenda. He explained that the Aviation industry is growing rapidly and Ghana needs to embark on massive aviation infrastructure across the country to meet demand.
“These are not the only airports we are working on. Phase two of the Kumasi airport expansion will kick off next year. It will involve the extension of the Kumasi airport runaway to accommodate wide bodied jets. We will construct an additional terminal building at the airport so that we can handle the growing amount of traffic that is developing at that airport. We also intend to rehabilitate the runway of the Sunyani airport to facilitate takeoff and landing of aircrafts there and we are conducting a feasibilities study for the cape-coast and Bolgatanga airports. The construction of these facilities will see a takeoff of aviation in this country and you are aware already, the aviation and passenger traffic continues to increase year on year. This will serve as an economic growth nod and there by generate more jobs and improve the local economy” said the President.
The President made reference to the Terminal 2 expansion project at the Kotoka International Airport which has equipped the arrival hall with state of the art gadgets to enhance clearance and security. He added that the construction of Terminal three is ongoing and when completed it will turn KIA into one of the most modern terminal buildings in the whole of West Africa.
…“Work on the Ho aerodrome which preferably is called Ho airport is also ongoing. We expect the runway to be completed before the end of this year and the terminal building will be completed early next year. We also expect the flight to begin operating from the WA airfields in the next few months. In the next few months it should be possible to catch a flight from WA to the other parts of the country.. This fits into my economic transformation and livelihood empowerment program to be pursued in my second and final term in office Insha Allah” he added.
The event at ther Taamale airport was witnessed by Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Shaributu and other Moslem Clerics, the Transport Minister Fiifi Kwetey, the Hajj Board members and Management of Queroz Galvao which is executed the project.
The direct flight to Jedda marks a historical feat for Hajj pilgrims from the Northern, Brong Ahafo, Upper East and Upper West regions who otherwise would have traveled down south to catch a flight at the Kotoka Airport.
In all 1,500 will be flown from Tamale. Two more flights, each with 500 passengers are set to leave the country on Saturday and Sunday. All other pilgrims will embark on their spiritual journey from Accra.
The Tamale airport is now equipped with an extended runway (3,940metres) and a complete lighting system to accommodate bigger aircraft.
According to the president, currently, none of the regional airports has the capacity of accommodating wide-bodied aircraft such as the Boeing 747- 800 series. “Any such aircraft would have otherwise been diverted to one the neighboring West African countries and hence revenue losses made to the GACL and the State at large,” he added.
Ghana’s second international Airport, is now ready for use by both domestic and overseas players in the aviation industry, the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) has disclosed and it will also provide services to the sub-Saharan regions including Burkina Faso and Mali.
Our vision is to enhance the transport sector and there will be a mix market high density commercial development to serve as an economic growth node; it will also generate employment and improve income in the local economy,” he added.