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Sunyani Airport to open in two weeks

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
Kwaku Ofori Asiamah (3rd from right), Minister of Transport; Ignatius Baffuor-Awuah (3rd from left), Minister of Employment and Labour Relations; Justina Owusu-Banahene (2nd from right), Bono Regional Minister, and Kwame Baffoe (right), Bono Regional Chairman of the NPP, inspecting the rehabilitated runway of the Sunyani Airport
Kwaku Ofori Asiamah (3rd from right), Minister of Transport; Ignatius Baffuor-Awuah (3rd from left), Minister of Employment and Labour Relations; Justina Owusu-Banahene (2nd from right), Bono Regional Minister, and Kwame Baffoe (right), Bono Regional Chairman of the NPP, inspecting the rehabilitated runway of the Sunyani Airport

The first phase of the rehabilitation work of the Sunyani Airport has been completed.

The project is expected to be handed over to the Ghana Airport Company Limited for commercial flights to begin in two weeks.

“The Sunyani Airport is ready and I will board the first commercial flight to Sunyani,” the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, told journalists last Monday.

He was at the Sunyani Airport together with officials of the various regulatory bodies in the aviation sector to inspect and ascertain the readiness of the facility.

The minister and his entourage touched down the airport aboard a Ghana Armed Force aircraft GHF 695.

The aircraft later flew around the vicinity of the airport to check its coordinates for analysis to ascertain its readiness for operation.

Phase one

The Sunyani Airport was closed down in March 2015 as a result of safety concerns on its runway.

Since the runway was also short, airlines were permitted to land with restrictions from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA)

With the completion of the first phase of the rehabilitation, the length of the runway has been extended from 1,280 metres to 1,520 metres out of which 1,400 has been paved and grooved to ensure safe landing of aircraft.

Inspection

Speaking to journalists after the inspection, Mr Asiamah said “if the regulatory bodies gave the go-ahead after today’s inspection, commercial flights would begin in about two weeks”.

“We want to make sure that the Sunyani Airport meets the required standards to ensure maximum safety landing,” he added.

Mr Asiamah said work done so far was to ensure that the operation of the airport did not pose any danger to its users, adding

“We will do more but what we have done now is enough for the smooth operation of this airport.”

 The rehabilitated runway of the Sunyani Airport

He added that the ministry was taking measures, and all things being equal, the second phase of the project, which would enable bigger aircrafts to land, would begin at the beginning of 2023.

Addressing encroachments on parts of the Sunyani Airport land, Mr Asiamah said the Ghana Airport Company and the Bono Regional Coordinating Council were still holding discussions about how best to resolve the issue.

We are thrilled

For her part, the Managing Director of the GACL, Pamela Djamson-Tettey, said she was happy that the rehabilitation work had been completed.

“I am very proud that our airport is ready to start operation and I believed that the contractor and the consultant have delivered on time and to a very high standard,” she said.

Ms Djamson-Tettey added that the GACL was just waiting to start operations because it meant a lot since would be able to earn revenue that came from a key place like Sunyani.

“The GACL has had a lot of calls coming from some domestic airlines who want to come here and so we are thrilled that today we will go back with good news.

The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, said the completion of the rehabilitation of the Sunyani Airport was thrilling news to people in the region and beyond.

She explained the long journey by road for both the business community and government officials would be a thing of the past.

Ms Owusu-Banahene added as of now she was aware that Passion Air had confirmed its readiness to operate from Accra to Sunyani and from Sunyani to Accra.