Sunyani Airport to be reopened by end of year - Aviation Minister assures
The Sunyani Airport, which has been closed since 2015 due to problems on its runway, is to be rehabilitated and reopened by the end of the year, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Joseph Kofi Addah, has announced.
“It is not fair to the people in the Brong Ahafo Region to have been denied the services of commercial aircraft since 2015," he said, adding that a decision had to be taken to enable the airport to be opened for business.
After inspecting the airport last Friday, Mr Addah concluded that: "It is a very serious situation we are confronted with. Both the north and the south sides of the airport have difficulties. We have valleys, we have rivers and shrines and we have to, therefore, take a quick decision".
"What we have seen today gives us the picture of what we need to be considered. We will make a recommendation to the Cabinet and find a way for the rehabilitation work to start as soon as possible," he said.
He said the runway had to be extended from the northern and southern sides, explaining that the current length of 1.4 kilometres needed an additional 500 or 600 metres to make it a standard airport for aircraft to land and take off.
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He stated that engineers would consider whether to fill up the valleys or constrict overheads to get the required length. He expressed the hope that the rehabilitation would be completed by the close of the year for air transportation to resume in the region.
Mr Addah said while the terminal building needed some work, that was not the critical aspect of the job, explaining that the rehabilitation of the worn-out bitumen and cracks on the runway was critical since the current state of the runway was not good for landing and taking off of aircraft.
He expressed concern about the settlements on the sides of the airport, adding that, “we will look at the situation. Whether they are right, or we are wrong had to be determined. If they are wrong, then they will have to move out; if they are right then we must give them the right that they deserve".
Mr Addah said whatever the situation, the people living near the airport had to live with the fact that they would live with constant noise that would be associated with the resumption of operations of the facility.
Answering a question about the construction of a new airport, he stated that the construction of an entirely new airport was also an option since ideally the runway reached 2.5 kilometres, which was accepted internationally.
According to Mr Addah, the encroachment on the sides was such that the airport could not be expanded with facilities such as hangers among other facilities.
"I think we need a new airport for this area", he said, explaining that a property at Nsoatre, near Sunyani would also be considered.