Minister for Aviation, Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda,together with his Deputy, Yaw Afful and the Bono Regional Minister, Evelyn Ama Kumi-Richardson as well as some officials of the Ghana Airports Company Limited have inspected the progress of work on Sunyani Airport.
During an inspection tour of the project, the Minister said the second phase of the project will cover further expansion of the runway to 1,900 metres and the air traffic control tower as well to accommodate bigger aircrafts, saying “I’m impressed with the progress of work and hoping that the work will be completed on schedule. This is in line with government’s vision to develop the domestic airline services by improving infrastructure.”
Interacting with journalists, the Aviation Minister raised concern about the level of encroachment on the Sunyani airport land by private estate developers. He said: “the more people encroach on the airport land, the higher the risk of the airport been subjected to blacklist by the International Civil Aviation Authority. It’s our collective duty to put a stop to it.”
Responding to a question about the proposed construction of a new airport at Nsoatre in the Sunyani West Municipality of the Bono Region, Mr. Adda stated that “government still have plans to put up a bigger airport at Nsoatre. Resources are not readily available to commence that project now, but negotiations with our investors are ongoing to see how feasible to make it a reality.”
He added that in the interim, government is working around the clock to secure that land there and provide some sort of corporate social responsibility for the community for the people to see the benefit of the proposed airport to them.
The contractor assured the Aviation Minister that the Airport would be re-opened in two months’ time, “the level of the project development is pegged at 85%”,he added.
Ongoing works at the Sunyani airport include expansion and upgrading of the runway construction of a 90 by 60 metre apron and fixing of fittings at the terminal building among other civil works.
The length runway would be extended from 1,280 metres to 1,520 metres, while the width would also be broadened to 45 meters. These constitute the first phase of the project; second phase would commence subsequently.
All other things being equal, the airport which has since 2015 been closed is expected to be reopened for aircrafts in the next two months. The Sunyani airport was shut down due to the poor state of infrastructure such as a short runway, which had also developed cracks and portholes.
Meanwhile, the Bono Regional Minister, Mrs Evelyn Kumi Richardson, underscored the socioeconomic importance of having an operational airport in Sunyani and urged the general public to desist from encroaching on the airport land to pave way for the necessary development at the Airport.
She said government has the legal right of the land and therefore alien to logic for people who have trespassed to demand compensation. She revealed that some buildings have been earmarked for demolishing, adding the government is collaborating with traditional authorities to bring a finality to the worrying trend.