Gov’t advances plans to upgrade Tamale Airport to International status

It has become necessary for the government of Ghana to further give the Tamale Airport an upgrade to meet an international status.

This was made known by the Minister for Transport and Aviation, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah.

According to the minister, the government is looking into this even though the US$80million second phase of the project is yet to be completed.

A third phase, which will complement what has already been done to put the airport to its full status as an international airport will soon commence along with the yet-to-be-completed second phase which is 57 percent complete.

The target is to make the Tamale Airport reach its full status as an international airport to further boost the economic potential of Tamale as the breadbasket of the country.

It will involve expanding the main multipurpose terminal (approximately 5,508 square meters) which is under construction and some other facilities. The additional cost is immediately not known.

However, the Minister said the technical experts from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Company Limited are working hand in hand with the contractors, QGMI, a Brazilian construction firm, and the project consultant, Ecobuild Consult to determine the cost.

He noted that the government will immediately look for funds to finance it, believing that it is economically viable and profitable for phases two and three of the project to run simultaneously.

“Per the advice from the project consultant in terms of cost-effectiveness, it will be better to have phase III. We believe that we can combine the two phases as we’ve done for Kumasi Airport. It will be viable; it will be profitable, and there will less cost for us. I believe that we will be able to meet the demands that the engineers and consultants are asking us so that we can achieve the purpose that we set for ourselves to do”, he noted.

“We will reap the full economic benefits if we do phase III. That is why we are proposing that we do it now instead of waiting for it to be done in the future. We may not incur a huge cost but if we are to wait for phase II to be completed, it means that in bringing on phase III, we need to touch some of the items,”.he added.

Mr. Asiamah made these observations when he paid a working visit to Tamale in the Northern Region on Friday, March 26, 2021, to acquaint himself with the level of development of the Tamale Airport project phase two and whether they were within time in order not to incur project overrun cost.

He was accompanied by the Managing Director, Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), Mr. Yaw Kwakwa, Director General, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Charles Krakue, Acting Chief Director, Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Madam Mabel Sagoe, and Irene Messiba as well as some technical staff from the Ministry, GACL and GCAA. The delegation was conducted around the project by the project consultant, Ecobuild Consult.

Among the facilities inspected were the project design which is 80% completed, the main terminal, 57% completed, a multipurpose building, 61% completed, bulk utility, 41% completed, and the access road and car park which is 38% completed.

The bulk utility comprises an underground firefighting reservoir, a portable water tank, and a wastewater treatment system.

Prior to touring the project site, the Aviation Minister in the company of the Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Shani Alhassan Saibu, led the delegation to pay a courtesy call on the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya Naa Abukari II in Yendi, to ask his permission and blessings before going ahead to inspect the Tamale Airport project phase II.

Having inspected these facilities, he expressed satisfaction with the level of development of the Tamale Airport project phase two.

“Per the briefings I’ve had and having gone to the project site to inspect the facilities myself, I can confidently say that the project is within time and could be completed on schedule”, he noted.

The project consultant, Ecobuild Consult, told the delegation that the upsurge of COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom and some other countries which culminated in the closure of airports and borders have had some adverse effect on their supply chain.

However, he said efforts are being made to complete all the procurement processes required for all the facilities.

The Regional Airport Manager, Tamale, Michael Omari, commenting on the facility said he is hopeful the project would be completed on schedule following which his outfit would embark on aggressive marketing to get all neighbouring countries to patronize the facility.

“The economic potentials of this Airport is huge and so we are going to market it well with a special focus on cargo services. Tamale and its surrounding communities are a hub for animal husbandry, horticulture, and agro-based products. Cargo delivery of these products to neighbouring countries will fetch us some good money”, he said.

Started in August 2019, the Tamale Airport phase II project which is being built on 3,500 acres of land, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022, the scheduled time which could be extended to the end of 2022 once phase three of the project is incorporated into it.

About 150,000 passengers patronize the Tamale Airport annually.

Source: Modern Ghana

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