Rehabilitated Sunyani Airport

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned encroachers of airport lands across the country to stop their activities with immediate effect.

The practice if not stopped, he noted, may affect future expansion works at the various airports.

President Akufo-Addo has therefore charged the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) as well as the Lands Commission and traditional rulers to ensure that lands belonging to the airports are well protected.

 “There is a wild spread of encroachment on airport lands. This phenomenon threatens the future expansion of airports in the country. It has to be stopped.

“The operators and regulators of our airport as well as the Lands Commission and Nananom need to sit up to ensure that the lands belonging to the airports are managed properly and protected and not only for future expansion but also safeguarding lives and properties”, he stressed.

President Akufo-Addo issued the warning during the commissioning of the first phase of the Sunyani Airport project in the Bono Region.

The Sunyani airport was rehabilitated at the cost of GH¢52.2 million and was jointly funded by the Government of Ghana and the Ghana Airports Company Limited.

DAA Construction Limited constructed the wall, while Resources Access Limited was in charge of the runway.

The runway has been extended from 1,280 meters to 1,400 meters.

President Akufo-Addo and Transport Minister Kwaku Ofori Asiamah traditional and religious leaders

Rehabilitation works of the Sunyani Airport began in February 2019 after it was shut down in March 2016 following defects on the runway.

Ghana as Aviation hub in West Africa

Commenting on the rehabilitated facility, President Akufo-Addo said the Sunyani Airport is a critical part of the government’s vision to expand the frontiers of the aviation industry in the country and to realize the dream of making Ghana the Aviation hub in West Africa.

“The incept of the Sunyani Airport dates back to the Second World War in 1942 when it was used as an airstrip for the Allied Forces. In 1969, the then far-sighted Busia government, realizing the need for an airport in Sunyani, initiated construction work to concert the airstrip into an airport.

“This was completed and officially opened on 13h July 1974 by Colonel P. K. Agyekum, the then Commissioner of Transport and Communication. For an airport of such rich history, if allowed to deteriorate and be temporarily shut down in March 2016, was in bad taste. That is why in the run-up to the December 2016 general elections, I promised to do something about it”, he noted.

Policy objective

President Akufo-Addo said the rehabilitation of the Sunyani airport was in line with his government’s policy, to provide a functional air travel infrastructure, enhance the development of the nation’s middle belt, expand the growth of agriculture and general business and industrial transformation

The scope of work, he explained, included the rehabilitation and expansion of the runaway from 1,280mm to 1,400mm, repair of the apron to accommodate small to medium size aircraft, minimum renovation of the terminal building, and construction of some airport internal roads.

“With these, after today’s event, the airport is now open for business. I assure the residents of Sunyani that this project is a sign of greater things to come for Sunyani and the Bono Region and indeed, to the whole nation”, he assured.

President Akufo-Addo further assured that his government’s commitment to the development of all parts of Ghana without discrimination is absolute, and these include the rehabilitation of bad roads in the Bono Region.

“I know that the roads are so dear to you and I will tell you, they are also dear to me. But I assure you that before I end my term of office as President, you will witness my handiwork in Bono Region”, he assured.

Govt committed to expanding Aviation Industry-Transport Minister

Commenting on the project, the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said “Today’s commissioning is yet another demonstration of the government’s commitment to fulfilling its vision of expanding the aviation industry in Ghana”.

The Sunyani Airport, he noted, has received certification from the GCAA, the regulator of the aviation industry in Ghana, to resume operations, having concluded all inspection works on the project.

According to Mr. Asiamah, the rehabilitation of the of the airport facility is in line with the government’s policy to establish an airport in each region of the country to improve air connectivity and boost trade and tourism.

He said the Ministry of Transport is committed and willing to continue to pursue strategies to make Ghana the aviation hub within the West African sub-region and beyond.

Mr. Asiamah assured the people that the Ministry of Transport will continue to expand the capacity of airport infrastructure and services to respond to the growing demand of the citizenry.

For instance, he said both the Kumasi and Tamale airports are being upgraded to international status while the rehabilitation of Wa Airport has been completed and opened for commercial operation.

Feasibility studies, he added, are also ongoing to develop an airport in either the Central Region or Western Region or in between Central and Western Regions while preparation is also ongoing for the government to partner with a strategic investor to establish a home-based carrier to provide domestic and international travel.

“The Ministry will continue to create an enabling environment to encourage private sector investment within the aviation space and look forward to the expansion of domestic operations across the country. I am pleased to mention that Passion Air, one of the domestic carriers is analysing modalities for commencement of flight operations to Sunyani”, he noted.

Revamped technology

Also speaking on the project, the Managing Director of GACL, Mrs. Pamela Djamson-Tettey, said the Company has revamped its Information Technology department to meet high international standards where they could even monitor the flight itinerary in Accra even from Sunyani.

She was delighted that after a long wait, the rehabilitation works on the Sunyani Airport has been completed and commissioned.

“The people of Bono Region, and its neighbouring regions, have long waited for the completion of this project, in anticipation of the socio-economic revival the beautiful city of Sunyani is to soon enjoy following the inauguration of a facility such as this one. Indeed, there is cause to celebrate, and the Ghana Airports Company Limited and its stakeholders are delighted to be proud partners in this wonderful story of development and progress”, Mrs. Djamson-Tettey added.

SOURCEBY THECUSTODIANGHONLINE.COM/Stephen Odoi-Larbi
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