The €66.35 million phase two project of the Kumasi Airport to extend the runway and construct a new terminal must be completed on budget and on time, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has declared.
He wants keys for the facility to be handed over after 24 months in order not to generate cost overruns as funding for the project has been secured.
Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony of the phase two of the Kumasi Airport project yesterday, President Akufo-Addo said “delivery of the project on schedule should be the watch-word of the contractor.”
According to him, the expansion of Kumasi Airport is a critical part of government’s vision to expand the frontiers of the aviation industry of the country, and to realize the dream of making Ghana the aviation hub of West Africa.
“It is widely acknowledged that Kumasi is not only Ghana’s second largest city, but also a major strategic business destination in West Africa,” the President stated and added that the present state of this airport does not befit such a status.
He revealed that expansion work will give Kumasi the impetus to reinforce its position as an important commercial and transformation centre of Ghana and West Africa.
President Akufo-Addo said the project will involve the extension of the current length of the runway by 3,090 metres from 1,981 metres to 2,300 metres, construction of a new terminal building with a capacity to handle one million passengers over a year, as well as the construction of an apron area and related facilities.
He acknowledged that the high youth unemployment in the country is the greatest threat to Ghana’s democracy and stability of the nation, intimating that the implementation of the project will undoubtedly create a sizable number of jobs for masons, carpenters, welders, plumbers, steel benders, painters, electricians, tillers and other workers.
He disclosed that a total of 1,200 direct and indirect jobs are expected be created through the expansion project.
For President Nana Addo, the completion of the project forms part of multinomial transportation system being embarked upon by his government which comprises air, marine, railways and road transportation.
“The project will stimulate the growth of our country’s industrial and agricultural sectors and boost the tourism potential of Ashanti Region,” he asserted and added that the completion of the project would ensure that Kumasi Airport serves as one of the key spots behind Accra’s Kotoka International Airport.
“Government remains committed to the development of domestic aviation industry and the removal of the 17.5 percent on domestic air fare last year is ample evidence of our determination to facilitate the growth of the industry.”
The President disclosed that, indeed, the Ministry of Aviation, over the course of last year, has been engaging potential investors – domestic and foreign – to partner government to establish a national carrier.
“I am reliably informed that the process should be completed by the end of the year. There are other projects in the pipeline, including the commencement of the second phase of the Tamale Airport and the rehabilitation of the Sunyani Airport.”
The Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), John Dekyem Attafuah said they were excited that the project is being executed.
According to him, the completion of the project will provide airlines with additional routes for their operations and bring about healthy competition among industrial players.
He reiterated GACL’s commitment to providing the needed facilities to improve air transport operation in the country and added that the company has a responsibility of ensuring that lands around the airports are appropriately managed and protected for future expansion to safeguard life and property.
“GACL, in recent times, has engaged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies within the13 kilometre-radius of Kumasi Airport on the need to keep the airport environs free of activities that are not compatible with airport operations.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Ministers of State, and Members of Parliament (MPs) were in attendance.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi