Feasibility studies for ten (10) new airports, airstrips and helipads are expected to commence in earnest this year. The studies will cover proposed Takoradi Airport and Upper East Airport; development of airstrips and helipads at Mole, Yendi, Kete Krachi, Tarkwa, Obuasi, Koforidua, West Central and Kyebi.
The total cost for the feasibility studies, to be undertaken by the Aviation Ministry, for the ten aerodromes and seven (7) other projects is GHC 24.7million, the Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Annual Budget Estimate of the Ministry of Aviation for 2020 Financial Year has revealed.
There are currently five (5) operational civilian airports in the country—Accra’s Kotoka International Airport (Terminals 1-3), Kumasi Airport, Tamale Airport, and Wa Airport and Ho Airport.
There is currently a military airport in Takoradi which is used by domestic airlines for scheduled passenger operations. However, the limited use of the facility by airlines, and the growing demand on the Accra-Takoradi route as well as the need to provide easy access to the tourism hub of the country–Cape Coast, has meant there is the need to construct a bigger civilian airport.
“We have a lot of tourists going to the Cape Coast area, there is a lot of development going on in the oil and gas enclave in the Western Region, and the Takoradi Port is there as well. The fishing harbour in Elmina is also there. All these show that people will be travelling to and from the Central and Western Regions, so we plan to move on that,” Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, told this writer.
Ho Airport, on the other hand, is currently used as a pilot training base by some airlines. The airport has a runaway of 1,900 metres in length and 30metres wide, an aircraft parking area, a terminal building that can hold at least 150,000 passengers a year, a VIP and VVIP facility, a parking area for the staff and nine- Kilometre network of roads around the airport.
Regional and domestic airline operator, Africa World Airlines (AWA) has indicated that it is willing to start servicing the airport to boost tourism and investment in the Volta Region.
The Sunyani Airport has been out of use for some time now due to defects on the runway of the facility. The Aviation Ministry, working with the airports’ operator, Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), are currently overseeing a rehabilitation of the runway to make it possible for airlines to service the airport. The terminal building of the facility has, however, been expanded to accommodate modern x-ray security screening equipment.
Why new aerodromes
Total domestic passenger traffic increased from 415,158 in 2018 to 690,314 in 2019, representing an increase of a 40 per cent increase in domestic passenger throughput.
Many factors have been attributed to this significant increase in passenger throughput, including, the opening improvement in on-ground infrastructure such as the opening of the Wa Airport, increase in flight frequency by airlines and the Year of Return 2019 when Ghana took centre stage on the global tourism map.
Major music and fashion events such as Afrochella and Afronation, under the Year of Return brand, also attracted a lot of tourists into the country who travelled to other parts of the country to reconnect with their roots.
Ghana’s quest to be the aviation hub of the sub-region and the gateway to West Africa also means that she must invest in opening up various parts of the country. With the firm decision to establish a home-based carrier, the country stands to benefit by investing in on-ground infrastructure in various parts of the world where the home-based carrier can service.