The Aviation Ministry on Monday announced that the Wa Airport would be opened within one month to allow commercial aircrafts to begin operations after security measures had been certified to meet international safety standards.
Deputy Minister of Aviation, Mr Yaw Afful, made the announcement during an inspection tour to the Airport to ascertain the strength and standards of its facilities for operations of commercial airlines.
This is the first time in the year and third within six months that officials from the Aviation Ministry have visited the Airport to inspect its facilities and given assurance for operationalization of the airfield to ease transportation challenges and boost local businesses.
Sector Minister Mr Joseph Kofi Adda was the last to visit the newly refurbished airport in 2018 and assured the public the landing field would be opened to domestic commercial air flights within two weeks to boost economic activities.
But Mr Afful justified the Ministry’s failure to open the airport to commercial flights within the stipulated time, saying: “The reason why we could not do it at the time was because this pavement had not been tested yet and per the regulators that ought to be tested”.
“We have the technical team here and they are saying that the work would be done within one month and once the technical work is done, we will also make sure that the carriers start flying down here. So that will definitely happen,” he added.
“And as to when the carriers will start coming here, we have already talked to African World and they are prepared, we’re also working on home-based carrier, of course that will be private”.
The Consultant Engineering Services Provision Company (ESPCo) Limited head by its Managing Director Desbordes Vialais tasked to test the runway, the taxi link and the apron including all concrete works and certify its safety when the Aviation Ministry would then work with airliners to begin operations.
Ghana obtained provisional effective implementation rate of 89.89 percent, the highest by an African country, after the International Civil Aviation Organization concluded its Coordinated Validation Mission this year.
The validation was in line with the United Nations Aviation Agency’s Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme.
The Minister was happy about the ranking and said government would not compromise aviation safety following Ghana’s track record.
It would therefore work to ensure that aviation safety was guaranteed and that the lives of passengers were not jeopardised.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Amidu Issahaq Chinnia, said he had led two delegations comprising the Regional Houses of Chiefs and the Waala Traditional Council to the President who was keen to see operationalization of the Airport.
He said opening the Airport to commercial air flights promote investment and boost local businesses as well as mitigate challenges facing passengers plying on the bad roads and amidst regular armed robbery attacks.
However, sources within civil aviation and Ghana Airports Company told the GNA that the Airport lacked transport system, communication gadgets, and personnel to allow commercial operations of flights within one month.
The Wa Airport tarmac stretches 2000 metres (two kilometres) with 45 metres width and a capacity to host Code C type aircraft together with Boeing 737-700 Airbus and Embraer ERJ 190-100.
It is bigger than the Kumasi, Sunyani and Takoradi airports, according to aviation experts who describe the landing site as having enough room for future expansion.
By: D.I Laary