Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia has reiterated the government’s commitment to making the country an aviation hub in the West African sub-region.
He said this at the inauguration of phase two of the Tamale International Airport. The completion of the second phase of the airport means that passengers can now fly abroad through direct or connecting flights from Tamale.
The US$70million project was funded by the UK Export Finance and KFW IPEX-Bank of Germany, with Ecobuild Consult as consultants.
“This project is part of the government’s vision to expand the frontiers of the aviation industry and to make Ghana the aviation hub within the West African sub-region. It is, therefore, gratifying to note that the development of the Tamale Airport Phase II is in line with the government’s aviation sector infrastructure development programme.
“This project is so dear to the government and particularly the hard-working people of the Northern Region and their trading partners across the length and breadth of the country and the sub-region,” the Vice President said.
Dr. Bawumia further stated that the completion of the ultra-modern facility project, together with the multi-purpose terminal and other ancillary facilities, are expected to provide the needed impetus for increase in economic activities and reinforce Tamale’s status as a strategic location.
The Tamale International Airport will also serve as an alternative to the Kotoka International Airport and Kumasi Airport.
“The Northern Region, as you may know, is noted for its vibrancy in agriculture and economic activities. It is also endowed with rich traditional and cultural sites, and the location of the airport within the Sahelian belt is expected to enhance access to market for local agriculture produce,” he said.
Indeed, the government intends to use Tamale International Airport to support programmes of the Northern Development Authority, particularly activities relating to the export of fresh produce.
In this vein, Dr. Bawumia said the airport’s upgrade will boost agricultural activities, tourism and the general economy of the region.
He expressed confidence that the expansion will serve as a catalyst for industrialisation and rapid socio-economic development.
In addition, it is expected to make the region a Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca – hub in Ghana.
He expressed the hope that other service providers would leverage the completion of the project to invest in other areas in the maintenance and repairs of the facilities.
British High Commissioner to Ghana Harriet Thompson said the UK was committed to collaborating with Ghana to bring about development, adding that the upgrade of the airport will open up more opportunities.
Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), Pamela Djamson-Tettey, on her part, said after the Operational Readiness and Transfer (ORAT) phase of the project was initiated upon the handover of the terminal to the GACL. “We have engaged in the testing of all equipment and systems, training of personnel and finally, the gradual migration of operations to the newly built terminal.
“Our objective throughout this phase has been to eliminate any risk associated with the migration, and we are committed to ensuring the seamless transfer of operations to this new terminal.”
She added: “We, at the Ghana Airports, remain committed to managing this state-of-the-art facility and provide world class services for the benefit of our nation”.